Dramatic play is a wonderful way for kids to act out different roles and express themselves. Providing dress up costumes, pretend real life items (kitchen set, tool box, medical kit) encourages them to get into character. It’s a fun way for parents to become kids again too. Get on the floor, put on a tiara, a cape and drift into your child’s imagination.
As a parent I love watching my son put on his police uniform and get into character. He is no longer Gavin, he has now transformed into Officer Gavin. I watch him go on rescue missions, capture the bad guys and call for back up on his radio. He idolizes rescue workers and super heroes. Who would’t? Its a fascinating world through the eyes of a child.
Dramatic play is also a great tool to help children express their feelings and gain mastery over an experience. Child life specialists use it to help children with their hospitalization. Children can pretend to be a doctor, nurse or anything that they choose. They can process what they have experienced through their common language; play.
Parents and caregivers can do this as well. Children who have a difficult time eating or sensory issues with food can play this out as a cook in the kitchen. After a child has visited the dentist or doctor, they can play out their experience with a doll or stuffed animal. I personally have played a rescue worker with my son to play out his experience with Hurricane Sandy. When your child continues to play the same role and theme over and over again, it is a sign that they are still processing what they experienced.