Role-play Takes Center Stage

Whether they’re playing dress-up, make-believe or simply talking with their imaginary friends, role-playing helps children build real-world skills.

How important is role-playing? Albert Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge, and countless studies have linked imagined play to vital stages of development in kids.

The good news is that it can be simple for parents to get children to role-play. Kids can use prompts from props like a couch and sheets to build a tent in the living room and play the role of an outdoor adventurer. Or a row of chairs can be turned into a train with your child as the conductor.

Parents can also find toys that help kids role-play. For instance, Fisher-Price’s new Dora the Explorer’s Let’s Get Ready Vanity gives girls the perfect outlet for fantasy role-play. It features a Dora whose hair girls can style, or they can style themselves as they use the vanity’s play accessories, including a blow-dryer, curling iron, crimper, brush, perfume, barrettes, hair ties and more to get ready for any adventure.

Girls can give Dora a new look or create a new style for themselves-all while using and strengthening their imaginations.

There are also Fiesta Adventure cards that encourage role-play as Dora “joins” girls on multiple adventures, such as getting ready for a garden party. Throughout play, Dora chimes in with over 100 bilingual, interactive phrases and even recognizes which styling tool the girl uses.

Try these additional tips for encouraging role-play in your kids:

� Play The Part-Ask your child to pretend to be different people you see passing on the street. Have her explain where she’s “going” or what she’s “doing.”

� Give Praise-Praise children for playing well by themselves or for making up their own fun games with others.

� Set An Example-Consider making up role-playing bedtime stories for your children. Act out some parts yourself. That way, kids can see that grown-ups use their imaginations, too.

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