Pretend Play in the Classroom

faceless toddler playing with wooden shapes of different size and pasta at home while putting biggest shape on
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on

Pretend play brings out the creativity in children while encouraging them to invent their own ideas and learning cooperative play. Teachers love to see their students engaging in this kind of play because it makes the day go smoother. Having the right items in your school room encourage dramatic play at school.

The possibilities with blocks when it comes to pretend play are endless. One of the most insightful activities a teacher can do with blocks is to dump out some blocks in front of each student and let them decide what to build. Some students will build towers, other students will build pens for their animals, some will build car ramps, and others will build their own unique designs.

Having wooden blocks in the classroom gives teachers many options to engage students in pretend play. Learning about space can result in the building of rockets. Learning letters can result in students “building” their name. Blocks also give students a great way to pretend play together. Learning to share and build on another students idea are lessons that will continue all throughout the education process.

The following comments are from teachers and explain how classroom area rugs help them and their students:

  • We spend most of our day sitting on the carpet for lessons, calendar, morning meeting, and music
  • Kids learn best with hands and feet on activities
  • We like to it upon the rug for lessons, to talk about our feelings, to play games, to listen to stories, and to sing songs. This meeting space brings us all together, and fuels our sense of community
  • Having a nice, clean, spacious, rug fills us with pride in our learning environment. The children sit on a rug in front of the white board to practice phonics, block and center time and story time
  • A classroom rug adds an attractive, inviting area for the children to sit and read books when they have completed desk assignments. It also provides a place to gather for interactive hands on Science activities
  • These little energetic bodies need their space defined on the rug. They are learning to be good listeners and respect the personal space of their peers. A rug with defined lines will help us accomplish this goal.
  • Rug time helps us transition from one activity to the next. We spend a lot of time on the rug singing, reading and listening to stories
  • The bigger size of this rug helps students sit on the floor without disrupting one another and it also provide them with educational experiences.
  • They love to lay on the reading rug in our classroom library and relax and read. We usually do story time and class discussions on the reading rug. We spend a lot of our class time on the reading rug
  • A rug allows my students their own personal and easily identifiable space during group gathering time. It will also assist in organizing students into cooperative learning groups. The rug will come to life in our classroom and enhance our learning atmosphere
  • A welcoming rug enhances their love for reading and writing. A rug will be the focal point of the classroom

Other Classroom Furniture Items

Having book displays in the classroom give students the perfect setting to play library or book store. This kind of play will encourage students to read and become interested in books. Students can take turns being the librarian or cashier and describe the books to the other students.

Encourage pretend play in students as part of your lesson plans. Learn the personality of each student and you’ll be surprised at their imaginations and ability to see the world in a different light. 

Create a mail person of the day game. Get index cards and have the children label each card with the books in the class. Take them to the schools library and let them get an idea how the school library system works, them emulate that in your class. Pretend play with a lesson!

The simple set up of a table and chairs within the classroom can give kids a place to pretend. Students can pretend they are at the dinner table while they serve and eat pretend food. This gives students a relaxed setting to act like a family and take turns doing different jobs.

Students may also arrange the table and chairs in a way that represents the classroom, pretending to be teacher and students. For a teacher, it is exciting to see students play school. It gives insight into what they are learning and what type of teaching they mimic. Teachers can observe and get some understanding into what parts of the day and what types of lessons kids enjoy. They will pick their favorite things to act out.

A table and chairs is also a good setting for pretend office play. Maybe students have seen their parents work at an office, have visited the school office, or watched the teacher work at her desk. For teachers, this type of play is a good way to see which students take the leadership roles and which students take other roles.

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