It can also give us clues as to things a child is struggling with, interested in or trying to make sense of.
Role play has many benefits. It helps children:
Role play should always be initiated by children, otherwise they will lose interest. But by providing a good selection of props, and suggesting ideas, you will stimulate role play.
Here are some roles (and activities) children might like to enact:
Doctor (treating a patient)
Parent (cooking, shopping, bathing a baby)
Cafe owner (making coffee, serving people)
Astronaut (exploring space)
Fire fighter (fighting fires, rescuing people)
Dragon (flying, breathing fire)
Fairy tale character
Superhero (flying, rescuing people)
Pirate (searching for treasure)
Vet (helping sick animals)
Playcentre recommends the following as a minimum for early learning centres:
Storage for dress-up clothes
Storage for dolls' clothes and bedding
Storage for other accessories
Small table and chairs
Child's bed and bedding
Doll's bed and bedding
Plastic or wooden fruit and vegetables
Telephones (minus long connecting wires)
Tea-set and cutlery
Dolls and dolls' clothes
Doll's high chair
Items for washing dishes
Children's clothes line
Items for washing dolls' clothes
Items for bathing dolls
Items for shopping
Items for cleaning
Items for dressing up
Full length mirror (laminated)
Medical play kit
See the Playcentre basic equipment list
Providing a good selection of accessories will encourage greater depth and variety of play.
Ironing board and iron
Books and bookshelf
Salt and pepper shakers
Role play relates to all Strands Te Whāriki.
To learn more about Te Whāriki, visit the website.
Our thanks to the Auckland Playcentre Shop for permission to use this article. Great play starts here.