Pretend School: Imaginative Play

Jun 21, 2012

One of the best ways to consolidate learning in children is to have them share their understanding with others. Peer learning is an extremely valuable tool in the classroom but often at home, especially with your eldest, there is no one else for them to 'teach.'

This is where a Pretend School for Imaginative Play can come in and it's so easy to set up.

activities for kids, games for kids, learn with play

Kids love pretending to be adults and getting to turn the tables and be in charge. Imaginative play gives children a chance to practice language skills, develop their imagination, look outside their immediate role and explore other options and possibilities. (Amongst other things)

You will need. Soft toys for students, chairs/tables for them to sit at and a chalkboard/whiteboard for the "teacher" with appropriate writing tools. (If you don't have a chalkboard/whiteboard, try taping a large piece of paper to a wall or window to use instead)

For maximum impact set up a Pretend Classroom for your child before they get up or while they are otherwise occupied. 

Talk to your child about what they are teaching all their "students" today.  
Offer them some props to help teach like some button magnets for counting, numbers, grouping etc or some magnetic letters and help them where appropriate.

Helping one of her "students" count.

Handy Tips:

Simplify this activity by joining in the play yourself. You could be a "student" in the class and aid your child in leading the play by asking them appropriate questions. ie. "What are we learning today?" "Can you teach me how to count to 10?" etc. They could pretend to read a story to their class. The options are unlimited.

- Extend this activity by helping your child extend their "curriculum" to include ideas and concepts they might be interested in or might be needing extension in. ie. If they struggle with backwards counting you could encourage them to teach backwards counting to their "students." Explain different school subjects and let your child choose an area to teach.

Play too. Get into character yourself, especially if your child doesn't do a lot of imaginative play. Addressing your child as Mr or Miss and helping out with things like ringing the school bell etc will help your child get into character and show them how people engage in imaginative play.

- Suggestions. Let your child lead with their interests but if they can't think of anything perhaps offer some simple suggestions to teach such as counting, the alphabet, read a story, talk about dinosaurs, organise a field trip, learn about healthy eating

- Listen to your child talk as they go through their experiences. This will help you determine where they are at with their learning, knowledge and understanding and help you to develop the activity (or future activities) to their level and interests

Happy Playing,
Debs :)

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  1. I absolutely love this! I think my toddler would totally have so much fun with something like this. We did a pretend library and coffee shop outing at home. It was a blast.

    1. Thanks so much. I look forward to seeing your pretend play. Library is a fave of ours (something about getting our all the books and lining them all up I think haha) as well :)

  2. This is a super idea- using the stuffed animals is a new twist- I was thinking my son and daughter could take turns teaching. At our daughter's mixed age pre-school the older students do take on the role of teacher/helper for younger students. It develops a sense of citizenship and leadership! Great post!

    1. Thanks Tricia. We also used to use stuffed toys in our early years classroom as "reading buddies" for the kids. They loved reading to their little furry friends :)

  3. this is so precious! i used to do this when i was young! such a darling little teacher. pinning this to my pretend play board.

    1. Thank you andie! She really loved being the teacher. We have a few teachers in the family and it seemed to come to her naturally lol

  4. My daughter loves this kind of play.thanks for your ideas on extensions. X

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