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Saturday, 28 April 2018

How to Play House

Playing pretend is an important part of childhood. Kids play house or role play to make sense of the world around them and explore their environment. If you're playing house with a toddler, set out props in a play space to spur their imagination. Play along with them so they learn how to interact and pretend. Once your child is a little older, let them come up with the stories and direct the play. Set up play dates so your child can play house with other kids their age.


EditPlaying with a Toddler

  1. Create a space for playing house. You can play house with your child anywhere you'd like. Use a bedroom, the living room, a patio, or a yard. Since small kids will need a little imaginative encouragement, it's a good idea to set up a playhouse or dollhouse to jump start play. If you don't have a playhouse or doll house, set up couch cushions or cardboard boxes to make a play space.[1]
    Play House Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • If you make a cardboard playhouse, let your child decorate it with stickers, crayons, or markers.
  2. Set out house-themed props. Kids love to play with household items that are their size. Place toys or actual household items that are safe for play in your child's play space. For example, set out a toy vacuum, toy blender, toy tools, actual measuring cups, a small table with chairs, feather dusters, and plastic dishes.[2]
    Play House Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • Don't feel like you have to completely fill the play space with toys. Too many toys can overwhelm small children. Instead, rotate out toys every few weeks to keep your child interested.
  3. Play with dolls or figurines. Younger kids often prefer to play house using their favorite dolls or figurines. Get out your child's favorites and ask them which 1 they'd like to be. Ask your child which doll or figurine you should be. Keep in mind that the dolls or figurines don't have to match. The important thing is that your child is encouraged to imagine and play.
    Play House Step 3 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, your child may want you to be a doll while they play as their favorite stuffed elephant. You might say, "I'll be your elephant, Nuffie, but who will you be? Would you like to play as Raggedy Ann?"
  4. Choose your roles. You'll probably need to start the imaginative play by telling your child who you're playing as. Then, your child may tell you who they're playing as. If they're too young, you might need to prompt them.[3]
    Play House Step 4 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, say, "Hi! I'm a little girl doll. Who are you? Are you a mama elephant?"
  5. Keep your play simple. Small children won't be able to follow complicated story lines or lots of characters so stick with basic play. You might just perform 1 household task and ask your child to imitate you. Or ask your child to show you what they should do with a tool or household item.
    Play House Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • By keeping the play simple, you can also teach your child new words. Playing is a great way to expand your toddler's vocabulary.
    • For example, if your child is fixing something, say, "The wrench is a good for tightening things. This is the wrench."
  6. Pay attention and encourage your child's interests. Let your child take the lead when it comes to what you play. Watch your child to see what toys they're interested in playing with and incorporate those in your play. Remember that kids don't have to use toys in a traditional way as long as they're having fun.[4]
    Play House Step 6 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, if your child is drawn to the kitchen toys, direct your role play towards food-related make-believe. Perhaps you are a guest over for dinner or a child wanting breakfast.

EditEncouraging an Older Child to Play

  1. Ask your child what they want to play. As your child gets older, they may want to add new activities to playing house. Instead of playing the same way every time, ask your child what tasks or chores they want to play. There might be things they've seen you do around the house. These may include:[5]
    Play House Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • Cleaning
    • Cooking
    • Folding laundry
    • Paying bills with coins or fake money
    • Mowing the lawn
    • Watering flowers
    • Caring for a sibling
  2. Play house without toys or props. Older children don't have to have toy household items or tools in order to play house since their imaginations are developing. This also means that you don't need a designated play space to play house with your child. Instead, play house whenever and wherever your child wants to.
    Play House Step 8 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, if you and your child are waiting in the doctor's office, ask if they want to play. Your child might want to be the daddy taking their kid to the doctor.
  3. Offer advanced kitchen toys. If your older child loves to play tea party or pretend to cook and make meals, let them play with kitchen items that have parts or accessories. Buy or make mini kitchens with toy stoves, toy food, and dishes. You can also show them how to use easy bake ovens that will give them a chance to make real food.
    Play House Step 9 Version 3.jpg
  4. Create fun stories and roles. Come up with story lines that use your child's favorite characters and themes. You might make the starting story before encouraging your child to tell you how the characters act or what they do.
    Play House Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • For example, tell your child that, "Once there was a momma who had a baby dragon who didn't like to have her hair brushed. What do you think the dragon liked to do instead?"
  5. Be as silly as you like. Since your child is already familiar with the basics of playing house, add some fun elements to your play. This is especially important if your child becomes bored with the usual roles. Try incorporating places like castles, volcanoes, or space. You can also add new roles, like a new sibling, their favorite doll, pirates, or superheroes.[6]
    Play House Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    • For example, tell your child, "You be the mommy who lives on the moon and I'll be a space pirate who comes to capture you."
  6. Set up play dates so your child can play with other kids. Now that your child is used to using their imagination, they may want to play house with other kids their age. Arrange a play date with kids from your neighborhood or your child's class. Let the kids take charge in playing the roles.[7]
    Play House Step 12.jpg

EditRelated wikiHows

EditSources and Citations

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