Young children learn through curiosity, imagination and action. Pretending or imaginative play, such as playing house, can help develop a child’s social and emotional skills, improve language, encourage problem-solving and build other developmental skills. A number of lessons can be learned from playing house.
First and foremost, playing house is fun for children. However, it also helps teach some very valuable skills.
When children play house, they learn quickly about sharing responsibilities. Someone is usually the mommy and the daddy. Who will go to work and earn money? Who will cook dinner, clean the house and feed the children? Pretend or dramatic play allows children to experiment with the social and emotional roles of real life. And through this cooperative play, the kids can learn how to share responsibility and take turns.
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Playing house also promotes your child’s cognitive skills, as pretend play presents a number of problems to solve. From the beginning, the kids have to determine who will play which role. They must decide how to create a roof for the playhouse, who will take care of the kids and a host of other dilemmas. The children learn to work as a team and make decisions together for the household.
Playing house and other pretend play also can boost children’s self-esteem as they discover that, through imagination and creativity, they can be anything they want to be. These seeds of self confidence planted at an early age can help lay the foundation for your child’s self-esteem as they grow.
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Playing house can help improve your child’s language and communication skills, too. As they pretend to be someone else (mommy, daddy, etc.), you’ll find children using words and phrases that you never realized they knew. Because they are imitating someone else, kids will begin to recognize the meaning of the words and develop their language skills.
Setting up house
You don’t need to build a fancy playhouse for your preschoolers to enjoy playing house. Provide them with cardboard boxes, plastic crates and other items to create furniture. They can set up their “home” in a specific corner of a room. In make-believe play, dolls can play the role of their children and stuffed animals can be the pets. Old clothes, shoes, hats and accessories for dressing up will encourage children to get into their role.
If possible, provide your kids with a small table, plastic containers and dishes, cooking utensils and other kitchen items to play house. Blankets, fabric remnants, old telephones, books and magazines are also a big plus.
Foster your child’s imagination and help develop their cognitive, emotional, language and social skills by playing house.