Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why we love pretend play

I always love watching Adam play, but my favourite is when he engages in pretend play. See the pic above, what does it look like to you? A mess? Well let me break it down for you:

The chair, makes a home. The quilt, just makes it cozy probably :) oh and he folds up the end to make 'the door'. The red train? well that's Gary the snail, of course. The striped gloves is Gary's bed, the sock is Gary's slide and the cheese and bread? well those are Gary's lunch naturally.

This is how the story unfolds;

Adam: Mommy come here, look, Sekaya House.
Mommy: Oh, is that a squirrel house? nice! Where's the squirrel?
Adam: No, no sekaya...this, Gary the snail. *points to the train*
oh I it's a squirrel house, for a snail.

He fusses about and here are some of the scenarios he made up:


Adam: Mommy, sleeping time (meaning he's asking me to sing the sleeping time song)
Mommy: Ok, *singing* sleeping time..sleeping time..
Adam: Wait! here Gary snail..*gives me Gary*
Then he grabs another train, and tells me this is also a snail. then he proceeded to stroke the train ever so gently...
Adam: Ok Mommy, sleeping time.

He continues to stroke each of the 'snails' as I sing, and then put them to bed.

wake up

Adam: Mommy wake up Gary
Mommy: *sings the wake up song*
Adam turned up the snails and asked me to help. and when everybody's awake...
Adam: Ok....thank you..good job Mommy!


Adam: Gary snail...nounch (i.e lunch)
He proceeded to serve Gary his lunch. Of course Mommy and Mia gets some lunch too (Adam suap. Mia enjoys this part the most)

This wonderful pretend play goes on for over an hour, full of creative imaginative play. Ok, it may seem like just silly child's play...but there is so much more to it than we realise..

First of all, when he's pretending that the train is a snail, he is well aware that a train is a train, a snail is a snail. He does not actually believe that train is a snail, meaning that he is well aware of the fact that he is just pretending. He is giving a separate mental state to the snail (hungry, sleepy etc) meaning that he is acknowledging that other beings has feelings, a mental state different to his own. A child at this age, their world revolves around themselves, how they feel, what they need. For them to assign a separate mental state and desires to others requires advance thinking skills for a 2 year old. He is practising his social skills at the same time, in the way that the is communicating and being gentle to the snail. Also, he is putting the effort to portray his imagination to me, and include me in his very detailed pretend play.

Really, such complicated and and rather sophisticated thinking skills are being developed in what appears to be simple 'child's play'. I feel so amazed and honoured to have the front seat to witnessing such magic unfolds. Alhamdulillah..let's remember this the next time we feel too busy to play with our children...a reminder to myself really...


Ernie Khairina said...

wow adam! this post reminds me when i was small as him, i thought i was someone like pocahontas, coz i spent so much time main belakang rumah. hehe

We will be moving next year! jumpa kat sana ye dot =)

Melina said...

It's such a pleasure watching how their little minds develop isn't it. My girls can come up with some rather funny scenarios when they play. They often come with little 'presents' for us and I've learnt early on to ask what they are. When I guess mesti salah best to just ask.

TRIPLETSplusONE said...

ya i love pretend play too, its just so cute to hear what they are up too. and just like u said, when it seems to look like a mess and we are about to yell to them to clear things, but just before i start nagging i would hear his conversation of his pretend play, and instead of yelling, i decided to join him ;)

there was once hArith carried the adult bolster pillow over his left shoulder and carried it to the kitchen near the stove. i was about to scold him coz the bantal kotor bawak masuk dapur, near the stove lak tu, but decided to ask him first, what was he up too and he replied "harith tgh angkat gas, nak masak tapi gas dah habis" few days prior to that incident, mmg ade gas man dtg anta ke rumah, tu he notice how the man carried the gas over the shoulder and fix the gas at the stove

Unknown said...

dot, hahah..before this i just think that pretend-play is kinda funny. but now with ur explaination i see it in a new different view. Rasa amazing plak ngan budak2 nih..tak sbr tgg muizz besar and pandai pretend play. ape la yg die nak belakon nanti ;p

aidafiqs adamia said...

i'm afraid maybe not..we're coming home for good next year..

they're so creative aren't they?

alah harith so cute!

tulah kan...they ARe amazing!

ida ahmad said...


tq aida. lately ni, nazhan made me stress out. baca blog u buat i calm again n boost up my positive energy.

aidafiqs adamia said...

parenting can be really stressful at times kan..we all need a little boost once in a while..i'm so glad you got one here :)


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