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Learning through Dramatic Play

Learning through Dramatic Play


Dramatic play is a play type where children suspend their beliefs to engage in an alternate reality. Children accept and assign roles and then act them out. Children dramatise situations through exchanging dialogue and carrying out actions that go along with their roles.

Dramatic play offers children the opportunity to develop a range of skills such as;

  • role playing

  • being imaginative

  • being resourceful

  • learning to use props

  • extend attention span

  • engage in the same experience for a longer period of time - more likely to engage in deeper learning

  • social skills

  • speaking and listening skills

  • learning to turn take

  • cooperating in a group

  • language and vocabulary

  • ermotional awareness

Studies show that children that participate in dramatic play are less likely to display aggressive behaviour. Dramatic play teaches children to manage their behaviour because they learn to control their impulses and need to cooperate with peers to engage in this play. For this reason dramatic play support children’s social and emotional development.

Dramatic play also increases cognitive development as children recreate past experiences through abstract thinking. It also allows children to problem solve in various ways too. An example of this is when children recreates dilemma - children work together as firefighters to save a kitten stuck in a storm drain. Children learn to share ideas to contribute to the make believe situation.

It can also develop language and literacy skills through displaying texts (menus, magazine, road signs, food boxes etc). Children most often use verbal communication to discuss their roles and what they are doing during play. Children can also build their knowledge of terminology by exploring group of words that relate to a specific context.

At Engadine Kindy Castle we have set up the following dramatic play centers for the children;

  • Kitchen role play

  • Dinosaur world (mentioned in our previous blog)

  • Construction work site

  • Hair dressers

  • Fire fighters

  • Fantasy role play with dragons and princesses

We follow our children's interests and listen to their ideas to try make them a make believe reality.

In summary, there are so many benefits or dramatic play. You can incorporate this in your home too. You can start by having any of the following; dress up clothing, hats, bags, wallets, silk scarves, masks, stuffed animals, dolls..


Penelope Griffing, Joe L. Frost, Sue C. Wortham, and Stuart Reifel (2007) “Play and Child Development” (Third Edition), Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.

NAEYC (1983) “Encouraging Dramatic Play in Early Childhood - Young Children” Vol. 38, No. 2,  pp. 13-22, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), http://www.jstor.org/stable/42721002

KidsMatter, Friendship Skills: Suggestion for school staff, pp1-2