8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the picture book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman} - undergodsmightyhand.com

8 Pretend Play Ideas {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}

I’m usually on a search for ways to help my fella with special needs and his sister gain ideas and opportunities for pretend play.

My son is drawn to activities completed in conjunction with books we’re reading.

We’re particularly fond of Ame Dyckman’s picture books. When Boy +Bot came out, we reread it so often, I created a preschool robot unit using it. Boy + Bot is still regularly pulled off the shelf for rereads.

Just a few weeks ago, Ame Dyckman’s second picture book released, Tea Party Rules. It’s just as clever and fun to read as Boy + Bot.

And, it’s full of ideas for pretend play with a friend! So, of course, I had to make a little mini-unit out of it.

Read this post for reasons why pretend play is so important, plus general ideas for pretend play (including tips for special needs).

Continue reading below for more specific ideas for pretend play for preschoolers and early elementary ages.

8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the picture book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman} - undergodsmightyhand.com

8 Pretend Play Ideas for Anytime {but especially for accompanying Tea Party Rules}

  • Bathe stuffed animals and dolls. Often my baby girl wants to grab a wipe and wipe down her baby’s mouth, nose, hands, and feet. If your child needs a little more enticing to pretend play or is a sensory seeker, try giving a doll or stuffed animal a full bath in a small dishpan or tub. (Just use an animal that’s okay to get wet!)
    8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}
  • Dress up animals or dolls. Pretending to dress up a doll practices real-world play and life skills, motor coordination, and controlling strength when taking care to “dress” a toy.
    8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}
  • Dress up self. I’m not sure if most toddlers and preschoolers begin this way, but my kids pretend played with toys first before they began pretending with themselves being a character. I have a bin on a bottom shelf of one bookcase that remains filled with pretend play props. From fireman hats to costumes and old shirts to bags and even a broken iPad case, these props allow for open-ended pretend play.
    8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}
  • Play a simple command game. This was one of the first games my son directed on his own. Begin with a few simple commands (like “march,” “freeze,” “dance,” “jump”) and let your kids decide when to switch and what order to use those commands. While using less “pretending” than other games, it’s a great “first” pretend play game to practice making decisions during game play.
  • Act out a scene from a favorite book or show. This is currently one of my son’s favorite methods of pretend play. He loves to act out scenes from a favorite book (like Bathtime for Biscuit or Tea Party Rules) or a favorite Signing Time episode.
  • Pick a few items or pieces of equipment and create a game! This idea may suit elementary ages better, but preschoolers can play along with older siblings or friends. I explain one way to “create-a-game” in this post at The Homeschool Village, and you can modify it to fit your needs.
  • Let your friend pick his or her favorite game. My daughter will create a game and my son will join in. Other times, my son begins playing, and my daughter joins in, adding her own twist. I love seeing their unique ways of playing and how they take turns coming up with the game.
  • Have a tea party (or any other kind of pretend party)! No reading of Tea Party Rules would be complete without a tea party! Ame sent some awesome {pretend} cookies our way (thanks, Ame!), and we’ve put them to good use.

8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}

8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}

We even invited Cub! He’s really good at sharing.

8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}

If you want more ideas on encouraging creative play in general, check out this post.

How do you encourage pretend play with your preschoolers? Have you read Tea Party Rules yet?

This post was featured at Teaching Mama’s at the Toddler and Preschool Pinning Party!

This post is also linked up with The Homeschool Village’s Ultimate Homeschool Link-UpHomeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share Saturday, and Free Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

I Can Teach My Child's Show and Share Saturday link-up

2 thoughts on “8 Pretend Play Ideas {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}

  1. Pingback: 7 Books to Take on Hospital Visits

  2. Pingback: Imaginative Play Ideas for Preschoolers

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