Pretend Play as Emotional Play

In our school, stuffed animals are a huge part of play. They serve so many functions and joys: they’re used for cozy moments before rest and as rest-pals, as comfort tools in hard moments, and as buddies in our games! I’ve been thinking and wondering a lot about what your children might be feeling and thinking right now. There must be a lot of restlessness, and also a feeling that things are just not quite right or normal. In imaginative play, children can really make sense of the tensions and confusions of life. At school, we’d often imagine that some stuffed animals were babies and that certain friends were the mommies/daddies. A lot of children naturally wanted to play family, and learn to take care of our stuffed animal friends. If this isn’t happening in your children’s play already, this might be a great time to break out the pretend doctor tools, cozy blankets, and pretend food and play family/doctor. What a natural and meaningful way for children to learn more about health, care, and comfort, all qualities we as a world need more of in this moment! It’s also a meaningful idea to let your child lead this kind of play. Maybe you’ll learn about a new fear, thought, or emotion your child has been carrying and letting out with play: a very comfortable and safe way to let things out!

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