Pretend Play

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Free Play

Learning Goals: Social Play, Oral Language, Creativity, Abstract Thinking


  • Set up a dramatic centre within your classroom, providing materials for the children based on students’ interests.

  • Students can use available classroom materials to engage in pretend play by negotiating, choosing, and acting out roles and storylines.

  • This type of play is not limited to the dramatic play centre, instead it can occur anywhere inside or outside of the classroom.

Suggested Resources:

  • Various costumes and props

  • Toys (i.e. dinosaurs, vehicles, stuffed animals)

  • Puppets

  • Found materials (e.g. recycled cereal boxes, plastic containers, etc.)

Why is it Free Play?

  • The children are leading the play by deciding on the roles, storylines, and materials to be used.

  • During the play, the educator acts as an observer. Their primary role is to provide engaging materials to facilitate the children’s free play.

We are the Play Learning Lab, run by Dr. Angela Pyle at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto.



Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study

45 Walmer Road, Room 320
Toronto, ON M5R 2X2

© 2020 by Play Learning Lab