I received this in the mail. I thought it would be useful to share the response below.
Melody wrote in a question .
” ….My 3 year son doesn’t really dress up or [tag]play[/tag] role playing games. I really noticed it when his friend Claire came around to play last week. He loves to push his little car up and down for hours though or his train. He doesn’t interact or anything…. Claire wanted to [tag]dress up[/tag] and play but my son wasn’t really interested…. Do you have any tips or [tag]activities [/tag]for encouraging more [tag]role playing[/tag]?”
Good question Melody.
Boys and girls often play differently and it’s seems more obvious in the preschool years. Gender differences are very apparent. Read the fascinating book Boys and Girls learn differently or visit The Gurian institute for additional books and journal articles or try the controversial book Why Gender Matters. Each child is learning at a unique pace and regardless of gender introducing your kids to a variety of activities is an easy way for them to learn new skills.
[tag]Creative play[/tag], role playing or pretend play is an outlet all children should enjoy. It’s a fundamental and a valuable skill to nurture early as it feeds into creativity, schooling and [tag]imagination[/tag].
At the beginning , my son who is particularly shy needed the stimulation and ideas to start an activity. He was much like how you describe your son. Then gradually he would take it and make it his own. Now, there is nothing stopping him. He has many ideas of his own that are original and many borrowed from [tag]playmate[/tag] friends, and what he sees around him.
There are many ways of encouraging your children in playing role play games if they are not interested. These ideas might just kick start their creative side if they are lacking ideas or confidence or maybe you just fancy some new ideas of interacting yourself. Perhaps they are not ready yet.
The important point to remember is to let your child lead. Interact to start, if needed, but let them make decisions. Be prepared to step away and let their creativity explode. Loose your inhibitions and let’s get creative!
Ideas for the [tag]dressing up box[/tag] or peg for boys -cowboys, policeman, pirate, doctor, vet, various bags so they can shop, wallets for their toy money.
- Collect these from charity shops/Goodwill. Most major retailers carry a version with all the accessories. But kids value customized ones from home just as much. Daddy or Mummy’s long white shirt/blouse is just as good for a Scientist/doctor/vet’s coat as one bought from the shop.
- Make your own toy money. Have your own family currency.
For more ideas see the next post. Still Stuck on pretend play
- Looking for some more cute pretend play items try this blog entry.
- Another fun way to pretend play
*** What things have you notice that kick start your child’s [tag]pretend play[/tag]?**************
***** What dress ups do you do or would recommend?***
Queen of Carrots says
My 2yo ds is always tagging after his 3yo sister with imaginative play–one of the best things to stimulate imagination is playing with other kids who are imaginative, but it does take time.
Driving cars can be just as imaginative as playing dress-up. Help him make a garage out of a box, or a mountain out of a blanket. Make a train out of chairs and have the stuffed animals get on board. Make a box or a basket into a boat and sail away. Build a cave behind the couch or under the dining room table. Be explorers. Cook pretend meals with the contents of the pantry.
Reading books where children play imaginatively can give ideas, too.
The best props for my kids’ imaginative play are blankets and boxes. They will play for hours with little else! The blankets can be forts or mountains or ponds or royal robes. The boxes can be boats or tables or, if they’re big enough, houses.
I thought my son was not into pretend play; he only likes sports. But I realized, when a 4-year-old plays sports, it’s “I’m the Rockies, you’re the Cardibals, your player just hurt his knee and you need another player.” Which is just the same as playing with Barbies, if you threw the Barbies at each other and hit them with sticks. When your son is pushing his car around, get another car, get down on the floor with him, and have the cars interact with each other. Have him tell you where the car is going, when it needs gasoline, make a story about the people in the car. Take him to the bathtub and have a carwash. Go under the dining room table and call it a mechanic, let him change the tires and the oil. Roll with his interests and encourage him to expand; his creative brain will come up with so many fun variations.
Good suggestions. The ideas are simple and realistic. Fancy a carwash with my little ones today.
Thanks for commenting
My son was never really into role playing games…except that if we made him a costume to go with whatever he was driving, he loved that. His firehat and construction hat and engineer’s hat…those are the things he wants to play with.
And his sister’s nail polish. But that is another story entirely.
QUIT worrying that you child is not doing what another child is doing! Just SPEND time talking with your child and DOING things with your child and he will be wonderful!!