Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

2011 Edition
| Editors: Sam Goldstein, Jack A. Naglieri

Pretend Play

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_2232



Pretend play is the stage of play engaged in by children who are capable of assigning action to symbolic objects. Children will take on roles, assign meaning to objects, and transform their reality into a world of its own. Pretend play creates a world in which children can express their ideas and feelings about their life, either by themselves or with others who will engage in the fantasy with them.


Pretend play is a necessary component in the development of children. Pretend, or imaginative play, helps children to develop their social and emotional skills, their language skills, and their problem solving or thinking skills. Pretend play allows children to strengthen their social and emotional skills by providing them with the ability to take on the life of another person, real or imaginary. Through play, emotions that may not be acceptable in reality now become “okay.” Pretend play can also...

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    Church, E. B. (2009). The importance of pretend play. Scholastic Parents. Retrieved February 17, 2009, from http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=10175
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Counseling Department, School of EducationUniversity of Houston Clear LakeHoustonUSA