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The Power of Make Believe: Encouraging Pretend Play

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girlandteddybearby Michelle Albright, PhD, innovativeKids

Tis the season for dress ups! Is your child going to be a cheetah, a pirate, a princess, a superhero? Halloween costumes are all about making believe.

Photograph courtesy of Jaimie Duplass /

But what about everyday pretend play? Young children learn by imagining and doing. Sometimes, kids need a little help from their parents to break out of their routines, get creative, and really use their imaginations. Here are some tips you can use to inspire them!

  • Plan for play. Ask your children what they want to play and encourage them to think about the different characters, props, or scenarios they might want to create. Help your children figure out what roles they will play and how they might act like a dragon, talk like a teacher, or move like a bird.
  • Look to favorite stories for inspiration. Encourage children to create and perform a play based on one of their best-loved stories. They can try out different roles, or even invent a different ending!

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