“Pretend play”…Why do kids pretend? When & Why you should interfere?

preted play

Babies imitates funny faces. Preschoolers invent character and scenes. By five children are staging full fledged dramas…”Pretend Play” is all about imagination.

Dramatic play, experiences are some of the first ways children learn about there likes and dislikes, their interest and their abilities. And we the “Parents” loves to see them exploring themselves. We get excited to see them imitating us,….the way we talk on phone. the way we get ready for office. Pretending tv remote to be a phone and saying

There cute “Hallooo halooo” (hello-hello) with a tv remote as a phone and nodding the head like dad does during office meetings. They look super cute. We rush to camera and capture these memorable moments, hiding behind the sofa or the curtains. I am sure all of us must have these priceless folders in computers or phone. These timeless memories keep us rejuvenating.

I remember my  3 yrs old…coming to me riding his tricycle, holding a big shopping bag and asking about the grocery list before going “Costco”( grocery store). I excitedly participated in his play and gave him the list.

Bye!! See you soon”…and rode to the other room, which was his “grocery store”.

I have even captured him playing “Gas station ” with his friends at school, watching that was a powerful imaginative play was certainly a treat to eyes. I will be sharing the pics and video with you all.


So basically they start observing us and the surroundings sooner then we think. They love to imitate and we love to watch, how grand papa snores, how doggy wages its tail, which purse mommy takes while going office, how daddy works on laptop etc…etc..

The infants have enough ability to imitate us by making silly faces. The way toddlers talk to their dolls, take the car for “car wash” is amazing to see. We love listening to their big talks , the tales of their bravery in which they climbed a tall wall and jumped on  a lion who was about to pounce on a friend . There big bright eyes , round lips and convincing scary face is enough to brighten your day.

As we know this kind of  play make them learn, it explains them social life and behavior.  And we love to see our child growing so well.

But what happens when these cute play, tea parties, car wash takes a different level, some kind of pretend play which you do not think is appropriate? How to express, and how to correct them and how to stop them from imagining this in a positive way?

So, here I am with this blog is to share few ways as

How to deal with these inappropriate pretend play in an appropriate manner.


We know the importance planning play dates with the kids of same age. When your child and her best friend get together, their play date may fly by without the need of much adult intervention. While you may have to get involved occasionally (a toy-related squabble here, a difference of opinion there), the kids may frequently invent elaborate imaginary worlds they happily cohabit. This pretend play with other kids (like pretend play by herself) can be very beneficial for your toddler’s creativity and growth. So, if you can, let the children go where their imagination takes them. BUT, note that there are some times when it might be smart for you to step in:

  • When the pretend play is inappropriate. Sometimes, something about the kids’ play may signal a red flag.

     “Doctor” is the obvious culprit, as kids this age (whether they’re opposite genders or           the same) will often gravitate toward checking one another out, in more ways than          one. What to do: Stay close. The minute you notice anyone undressing, swoop in and          redirect the game — without making a huge deal about it. Then remind yourself that        kids this age are eager nudists and naturally curious about their body parts — all of          them. But it’s certainly your prerogative to limit their mutual exploration.

  • When the pretend play is unbalanced. At home when you and you child play, your child will always be the boss, may be a princess or the strongest knight of the castle. But, for a group play these power should rotate to  every kid. So, if you notice a persistent power imbalance (for instance, one kid is ALWAYS the queen, and a very imperious one at that), which consistently causes tension or tears, you may want to urge everyone to switch gears. A nice cooperative tea party may work better than Queen and Servant. This will still encourage pretend play but — ideally —minimize unpleasantness.
  • When the pretend play is violent. If you see that every time a certain friend plays with your child and  the talk is all about blood, guts, and violence and dare, try guiding the children toward a more positive game. As wonderful as an active imagination is, there’s no sense in encouraging your toddler to have a destructive one. Just that you need to keep a close eye and avoid these situations to crop. I understand,  sometimes we forget, and we let them play on their own. But, it always advisable to check them time to time. And when the group is being aggressive, stop the behavior, and redirect them to a different game.
  • Older kids as coach. If a group of kids has toddlers and older kids both then the older kids love to volunteer to play as a coach to younger ones. Like my elder one is 8 yrs and younger is 4yrs. So, the group is mixed. And I often have seen the elders helping or resolving the little ones in a positive manner.



“Bam! Pow! Crash!” These are the sounds of the loud, exciting play of 4-year-olds – especially boys. They frequently become caught up in the rough-and-tumble play of good guys and bad guys – with many of their plots influenced by books or TV shows. This make-believe play provides opportunities for fours to act out feelings of anger safely, to make choices, and to feel powerful and in control.


Imaginative play gives threes and fours the opportunity to express their feelings and test out roles and situations. Help to encourage and extend their rich pretending.

  • Provide a wide variety of props. Offer items that reflect children’s daily experiences – baby dolls, kitchen equipment, and toy telephones. Incorporate items from their various cultural backgrounds, such as empty grocery boxes in different languages and an assortment of clothing.
    Include open-ended materials to encourage creativity. Provide large cardboard boxes to make castles, garages, and spaceships. Fabric can become a fascinating costume – or a night sky.
  • Encourage kids to unleash their creativity by reading children books about imagination: After reading Fireflies, Fireflies, Light My Way, by Jonathan London (Viking), offer preschoolers flashlights and dim the lights – firefly play is guaranteed! Puppets and felt board characters are another great way to retell and extend stories.
  • Provide art and writing materials for making props. When children get involved in pretend play, encourage them to make props and costumes and to write signs and script.

GET INVOLVED! PLAY WITH THEM….and its super fun!!

Kids loves attention. Its good to give them some free time to play and explore by themselves, but playing and participating with them is equally important. As parents, we have less energy to play, but try to squeeze may be  20 mins a day to play with them. 

If you remember nothing else of how to play, FOLLOW YOUR CHILD’S LEAD. They are the experts, after all. As a rule of thumb, try not to say anything that changes the course of the story or adds a plot point. Here are some examples of great ways to participate:

  • “Who should I be?”
  • “I wonder what will happen next.”
  • Summarize the story at various points.
  • Model pretend (e.g., “We could use this block as the birthday present.”)
  • Praise, praise, praise! Kids absolutely soak up every bit of praise they receive. Find as many moments as possible to tell your child what great ideas they have and how funny and creative they are.
    • “What a creative idea!”
    • “That was cool how you used ___ to be something else.”
    • “It is so much fun playing with you.”
  • Avoid asking lots of questions. Questions can show you are engaged, but they can also shut down natural creativity. We also tend to shift into teaching mode as parents (e.g., “What sound does a tiger make?” or, “What color is this?”), which is much less fun than what our kids have in mind for playtime.
So, let them pretend, help them wherever you think they need. Let them explore and learn.

Don’t forget to share your pretend play pictures, stories, ideas and experience with us. My next page will be about the “Imaginary friend pretend play”… Is it scary? Is it healthy? Why my kid needs an imaginary friend?

Will talk all about it in my next page. So keep reading..and keep sharing your stories.


  1. Very informative…as with 2 n half year old kid…I can very well relate to the initial stage of pretend play.. as my kid often talk on TV remote and calls Superman for rescue ” Superman come soon… I need help”… 🙂


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