Role Play and Storytelling

How our role play areas encourage exploration of real life

Role playing is a safe place for children to explore real life situations without the consequences such as making cups of tea (without getting burnt), chopping vegetables (without getting cut) because it’s only ‘pretend’. This means that there is no chance of failure for the child so that they are able to build those strategies and skills through role play. Many children will use role play to explore new social situations and will recreate these situations in their play, supporting them to become more confident and comfortable with these new experiences. Representative play encourages children to make sense of their immediate world where they are able to represent their everyday experiences. It supports them to develop important life skills which are needed in adult life. By experiencing these new situations, it supports children to get ready for different transitional periods in their life such as toilet training, welcoming new siblings into the family, moving house or going on holiday; to name a few. They are testing out social situations to make sense of them, supporting them to develop emotional stability.

As children develop their imaginative play, they also develop their language skills which is a prime area of development. Furthermore, these language skills and imaginative thinking are key skills to develop a child’s ability of storytelling. Story telling is the underpinning skill for developing later literacy skills as it provides a deeply rooted narrative understanding for the child. By supporting story telling through role play, we are supporting children to become the future authors, poets, and linguists of their time. Children will learn to develop social skills and emotional understanding when they have emotional stability which encourages friendships, empathy and good listening skills. This again, is vital for the child’s future as it provides them with the foundations to develop healthy relationships in the future.

Role playing is one of the key ways in which a child will express their imagination which enhances their knowledge and understanding of the world.  This progresses to fantasy play which gives children the opportunity to create the characters they think of, displaying their imaginative thinking which supports a child’s counter intuitive thinking.  This skill supports children to explore and demonstrate their way of thinking. It helps them to develop key skills such as storytelling, interacting with others and supports them to express their individuality through this play.

The resources we place in our Role Play Spaces and why

Home corner: Supports children to make sense of their immediate world

  • Representing everyday experiences through their play such as making cups of tea, making dinner, tidying, etc.
  • Representing cultural experiences in the home.
  • Developing basic life skills to encourage children to understand the routines of adult life such as cooking, cleaning etc.
  • Reenacting events that have took place at home.
  • Exploring different roles in the family and reenacting these roles. For example what mummy does and what daddy does at home.

Shop area: Encourages interaction and communication skills. Supports children to become more confident in new social situations.

  • Role playing shops encourages children to take turns and supports their listening skills as they take on different roles in the play.
  • Develops numerical skills by using role play money and supports children to make sense of the way society functions; needing money to buy things.

Baby area: Supports the children to explore the roles of their parents and siblings and how to look after another

  • Learning how to care for others by looking after baby.
  • Children will understand how they have developed and where they have come from through baby play.
  • Supports children to make sense of what is happening to their mummies if they are pregnant.
  • Learning about growth and changes over time – life cycle.

Cozy den: Encourages imagination through creating their own spaces for role play.

  • Den is a ‘blank canvas’ for them to utilize to suit their needs during their play.
  • Can be used as a quiet area for children to relax in/sleep in etc.
  • Children can use the den to support their role play such as creating a princess castle or a house for their baby play etc.

Dress up rack: Provides children with the resources to transform themselves into the characters they have become for their role play.

  • Encourages children to express themselves in their play.
  • Encourages children to explore different occupations by dressing up as doctors, firemen etc.
  • Gives children the opportunity to become someone ‘new’.

Role play resources

  • Similar to the dress up rack in the sense that it provides the children with the resources to support their role play scenarios.
  • Doctor’s kits encourages children to explore occupations.

Puppet show: Important for children to develop the skills of story telling

  • Gives the children the opportunity to represent their understanding of familiar stories such as ‘Goldilocks and the three bears’.
  • Supports children to understand the structure of a story.
  • Encourages children to use props to tell a story.
  • Encourages children to use their language to make up their own stories.

Stage: Supports children to develop confidence. How their story is going to be perceived by others. How they can explain it and present it well.

  • Performing shows that they have created.
  • Encourages children to work together to develop and act a role play scenario together.
  • Used for wake up shake up which supports a child’s self-esteem, co-ordination. Improves rhythm and timing too.
  • Wake up shake up also promotes the physical activity of a child. Energizes children and prepares them for activities later on in the day.
  • Provides a space for storytelling.