Make way for pretend play

24-36 Months Tips for Parents

Make way for pretend play

Imaginative play tips, toys, and the journey ahead

The time of funny faces and silly noises being enough to entertain your baby (all. day. long.) is coming to an end. Your little one is ready to take on a play world of toys and props as they grow their developing skills of imitation and imagination.

From playing mummy and daddy with their baby dollies, talking all sorts of gibberish on their toy phones, to making you better with their little doctor kits and costumes - they're discovering more about the world (and themselves) through pretend play.

The stages of pretend play

At this age you probably had a mini mimic on your hands (so much fun!). Cradling dolls how you once held them, or even pushing their push-along walkers like you did with a trolley! (Let’s see how your little actor will work out his acting skills.)

24 months – repeating real life

At this age, toddlers begin to play and re-enact what they see around them, absorbing their surroundings like super cute sponges. Be ready to try the imaginary meal your toddler cooked or watch them play house. Tip: Give story starters to help expand the play, like encouraging your little cook to “feed” their toy animals (Yum!).

36 months – story time

This is when they show their growing imagination as they begin to create stories with emotion, language, and props. You’ll also see your toddler begin playing with other kids, as their sharing and teamwork skills start to thrive. Tip: Spark their imagination with new experiences like going to the zoo, the park, or even a farm!

Your child can be anything they want! A chef, a doctor, an astronaut – even the sky is not the limit.

Enthusiastic jibber-jabber as they play pirates will help them speak more (and you guess less!).

Whether they’re building a fort or choosing roles to play house, kids playing together learn how to compromise, negotiate, and share.

If they can put on a cape and save the world, what else can they do?

Try these pretend play activities!

Put on a performance - let your little star dress up and run the show! Open a coffee shop - your little barista can mix yummy drinks for ‘customers.’ Go camping indoors - build a tent, then gather round the toasty (fake!) fire. Go on a “safari” - hop into the cardboard jeep to spot wild (stuffed!) animals. Remember to let them lead the stories they make & only help if they need it.

Pretend play is mutually rewarding for you and your little one. (This is your cue to take a break from spotting 'wild' stuffed animals). Seeing them have fun and becoming the big, kind, clever, and creative little girls and boys you hoped they would be is very ‘proud parent’ territory.

So, let your little one take your hand and join them in the world of make-believe!