Play and Language: Role play

Role play

Why is role play important?

Role play can develop a young child's speech, language and communication skills and it can be an opportunity to play the same game over and over again to develop confidence.

Role play involves the next development of imaginative play, where a child is able to ‘become’ someone or something else.  When children participate in role play, they copy and practice the words they have heard others saying, which ultimately develops their vocabulary and language skills.  In addition, children are aware that in order to participate well in the game they need to listen to others in order to respond and follow the game in an appropriate manner.  This type of play, therefore, promotes the use of speaking and listening skills.

In taking on a role, a child sees how it feels to have another point of view, and learns that the world looks different to different people.  Role play also helps the child to learn to empathise with others.  This is crucial for their social and emotional development.  Children become more aware of their own mind, and that they can think of different strategies to try when faced with a task or a problem.

You may find this article helpful to support your role in role play. Follow the link in the sidebar.

To learn more about the relationship between language and play follow this link.

Top Tip

Children benefit from participating in role play situations that they are familiar with such as picnics, being 'mummys and daddys', working in a cafe etc so they can act out the familiar scenarios that they experience daily. So by choosing an activity that you are both familiar with will make the experience more fun and engaging. The adult's role would be to role model the type of language and behaviours you would you use in the environment, it amazing how quickly children mirror this from you. Your child will want to play this game over and over again, this is fantastic if they do because then they become more confident and you can introduce new items to play with and new vocabulary.
Advice on how to follow your child's lead in play
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