Play is an essential right afforded to children by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, according to a 2007 research article published in "Pediatrics." Pretend play is a crucial part of childhood because it promotes the development of social and emotional skills, boosts the understanding of language and encourages problem-solving abilities, according to Scholastic.com. Many children enjoy playing school because it's something familiar to them and it gives them a chance to swap roles and become the teacher rather than the student.
A Class Needs Students
Every teacher needs students to teach. If your child has neighborhood friends her age, invite them over to play school, or plan a large-scale play date with school friends. If that's not possible, gather a variety of stuffed animals to become the students. Even if your child is pretending to be the teacher and interacting with toys that can't talk back, she's still building language skills, which will help later with literacy and reading skills, according to Scholastic.com. Volunteer to be your child's student because play can also foster a strong parent-child bond, according to "Pediatrics."
Fill It With Furniture
No classroom is complete without a few well-placed pieces of furniture. Use kitchen chairs for your child's students to sit on, or, if his students are stuffed animals, seat them on the floor behind small cardboard boxes, which make the perfect desks. Let your child use an end table or other small table for his teacher's desk. If you have an easel with a chalkboard side, bring that into the classroom. If not, tape a few large pieces of paper to a wall to become the chalkboard.
Necessary Teacher Supplies
Draw or design and print report cards with your computer so your child can keep track of how well each of her students are doing. Hall passes, grade books and lesson plan books are additional items that can easily be made by hand or using a computer. These items help your child become immersed in her role as a teacher. A pointer, which can be a ruler, and some chalk, if she has a real chalkboard, are a few additional supplies that will bring her pretend classroom to life.
Classwork Supplies Are a Must
If your child is going to properly educate his "students," he needs essential supplies. Give him a stack of paper to become class and homework assignments. Even better, search the internet for free age-appropriate worksheets and print them. The worksheets can be used as assignments in your child's classroom and make playing school particularly enjoyable if she has her peers as her students. A sheet of stickers or a few stamps and a nontoxic ink pad will allow her to grade the papers. Pencils, crayons, erasers and nontoxic markers are important components of any classroom, as well.
- Scholastic: The Importance of Pretend Play
- National Association for the Education of Young Children: Research News You Can Use: Pretend Play Is Important But Its Role in Learning is Complex
- Pediatrics: The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.