The Best Toys For Preschool Dramatic Play

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title for preschool dramatic play

Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s already the last Monday of the month! Today I’m wrapping up a month long series on growing language skills through play. Today let’s talk about the best toys for preschool dramatic play.

Preoperational Stage (Ages 2-7)

*  Symbolic play or dramatic play begins around age two.  At this stage, children engage in make-believe games and fantasy roles.
*  Role play is an important aspect of language and cognitive development.  Children enjoy dressing up as their favorite TV and movie characters and acting out real life adult situations.
* Children will also start to use objects for a variety of functions. As an example, long objects such as a bat becomes a lightsabre or sword.
* At this stage, a child is unable to see the world from another persons point of view. Instead a child assumes that other people see, hear and feel the same way about a situation as they do.
* Children believe that inanimate objects such as stuffed animals have feelings and intentions.

Preschool Dramatic Play and Language

I absolutely love watching and listening to a child’s language growth, during preschool dramatic play.  Their use of creativity and imagination is amazing.  You will enjoy listening to your child go from speaking in short phrases to full sentences, as they develop characters and play themes.

Did you know
* This is an important time for children to play with children their own age. They learn problem solving, and sharing skills through their play.
* Children grow their vocabulary while discussing play ideas and different scenarios with their peers.
* Parents can encourage their child’s thinking skills by asking them thoughtful questions. Check out my post on how to ask questions that expand language development for more on this topic.

Parents often ask me suggestions for toys that encourage language development. My answer always is “Think simple”. The less noise a toy makes the better it is to spark imagination and language. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the learning that occurs with electronic learning toys such as The LeapFrog Touch Magic Rocking Guitar, but it is also  important to teach your child how to play with toys that require imagination not batteries.

With a little creativity yourself, you will be amazed at the play schemes you can set up for your child with objects you have around the house. Choose topics that seem to interest your child and set up toys that will encourage them to develop an entire play scheme. Your child will love having fun with a little bit of props, your guidance, and a lot of imagination. You can also invite another child over and watch the magic of learning unfold.

The Best Toys that Encourage Dramatic Play

1. Does your child love to draw, color and read books? Help you child play “school”.

Materials Around the House: Set up a play school with a calculator, ruler, a doll or stuffed animal, a few books, blank sheets of paper, pencils, dry erase board and markers, and a bell.

Toys To Put on a Birthday or Holiday Wish List:
Melissa & Doug Wooden Tabletop Easel

2. Is your child obsessed with airplanes or trains? Build a play train, airplane or car and pretend to go on a trip.

Material Around the House: chairs, an object shaped like a circle to use as the steering wheel (frisbee or cut out from cardboard), blankets, suitcases and/or bags for luggage, dolls or stuffed animals for passengers, large box

preschool dramatic play with cardboard box

Toys To Put on a Birthday or Holiday Wish List:
Melissa & Doug Train Engineer Role Play Costume Set
Wooden Train Whistle
Kids Airline Pilot Costume – Toddler

3. Is your child afraid of the dentist or doctor? Role play the scenario.

Materials Around the House: using dolls and stuffed animals, medical tape, band-aids, toilet paper (to use for wrapping up injuries) a small notepad, and a small doctor kit bag to put all of the tools in.

Toys To Put on a Birthday or Holiday Wish List:
Fisher-Price Medical Kit

4. Does your child love to build Legos and blocks? Encourage construction play by decorating and building tall towers with the boxes.
preschool dramatic play with tool box

Materials Around the House: large empty boxes, tape, markers, crayons, stickers

Toys to Put on a Birthday or Holiday Wish List:
Home Depot 18-piece Tool Box

There are so many more preschool dramatic play ideas on Pinterest.  Also, check out my previous articles from the month about growing language skills through play.

What dramatic play does your child love to engage in?
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