Make believe and role play

Make believe games and role play lets children guide their own learning and explore ideas.

Playing alone or with others lets your child understand their world, how they fit in and build a sense of identity. Storytelling and dramatic games allows children to use their imaginations, express ideas and build an understanding of their own individuality. Your child may create fantasy worlds or draw upon things they see in their own world.

Exploring gender roles (playing mums and dads), different jobs (playing cops and robbers, hair dressers or shops) or reverse roles (say you are the baby and they are the parent) lets children experiment with ideas and concepts they see in their environment.

By joining in with your child’s play and following their lead, you can boost your child’s self-esteem and help them to develop a sense of worth.

Getting involved
  • Ask questions about the role or game your child wants to play.
  • What sort of things should they wear, or say, to pretend?
  • Do they know anyone who is a… (baker, police officer, hairdresser, teacher?)
  • Old clothes and props can be used as dress ups.

Image Young children interact, helping each other with dress up items as they play

Published — 21 September 2016 Last updated — 02 November 2016

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What is your relationship with the child?


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If you had a spare moment, what would you most likely do with the child?


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Do you speak another language at home apart from English?
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Does the child need additional support with their development or learning?
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