13 - 15 Months

Why early pretend play matters—and how to encourage it 

Toddler pushing a stroller

Now that your child is a toddler, you might see them start to experiment with early pretend play. They may hold up a block to their ear and pretend it’s a phone, or hug their doll, then immediately fling it aside 🙃

Early pretend play is simple, brief, and involves only one step. It is based on imitation, not fantasy; your child will only do something they have seen you do or experienced themselves. 

3 ways to support your toddler’s early pretend play

In photo: Sliding Top Box and Organic Cotton Baby Doll from The Thinker Play Kit

Model simple play scenarios. The more you show your toddler what simple pretend play looks like, the more they’ll test it out on their own. Try putting a small blanket over their baby doll, giving it a kiss, and saying, “Goodnight, Baby,” or pretend to feed the baby doll and see if your toddler mimics you. While you are working in the kitchen, give your child a little wooden spoon and pot to stir.

Provide them with props. Offer your toddler objects that support their new interest in early pretend play including an old cordless phone, empty cup, bowl, plate, and spoon. If your child has a favorite doll or stuffy, you can give them a small stroller, brush, comb, and blanket to help them nurture their little friend. 

Observe and narrate. Validate and encourage your toddler when they experiment with early pretend play. If they hug their doll, you can say “You’re giving your baby such a nice hug!” If you notice them stirring their spoon in a bowl, try saying, “Look, you’re stirring your pot!” 

Making specific observations lets your toddler know that you believe what they’re doing is important. 


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Posted in: 13 - 15 Months, 16 - 18 Months, Social Emotional, Pretend Play, Cognitive Development, Lovevery App, Child Development

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