Dramatic Play is central to children’s healthy development and learning during the early years. Our classrooms include an area designed to inspire creative and imaginative play. Children explore their experiences by pretending to be someone or something different other than themselves. Children make up situations and actions that go along with the roles they choose based on real life experiences. When children engage in dramatic play, they deepen their understanding of the world and develop skills that will service them throughout their lives. The Creative Curriculum® provides our classrooms with support resources to enhance our Dramatic Play Centers within our classrooms.
Here are some examples of how Dramatic Play promotes development and learning:
Social-Emotional: To engage in dramatic play with others, children have to negotiate roles, agree on a topic and cooperate to portray different situations. They recreate life experiences and try to cope with their emotions by acting out roles and situations that interest them. Research shows that children who engage in dramatic play tend to demonstrate more empathy toward others because they have tried out being someone else for a while. They have skills to cooperate with peers, control impulse and are less aggressive than children who do not engage in this type of play (Smilansky, 1990).
Physical: Children develop small muscle skills when they button and snap dress-up clothes and dress dolls. They practice eye-hand coordination and visual discrimination skills when they use and put away props and materials.
Cognitive: When children use their imagination to pretend, they create pictures in their mind about past experiences and the situations they imagine. These images are a form of abstract thinking and help children build problem solving skills as well as demonstrate a positive approach to learning.