Here I'll share with you some image play examples that we have done in class. Remember, the class examples are limited because there aren't many props in the small classroom and we need to keep the activity short. Take them as ideas for image play at home which you can improve on and expand at home. Remember also, and as I explained in Part 12, don't just hand your child some toys and ask him to play by himself. Get involved, guide him along and make it a multi-sensory experience.

When Ryan was less than one year old, we did very simple pretend play in class. For example, sensei would show him pictures of a panda and what the panda likes to eat. Then he was given a picture of a panda and told that the panda was hungry. He was then asked to pretend to feed the panda some leaves.

Another example for babies: the sensei showed him a series of pictures and told a story. Then she showed each picture again and Ryan acted out the story (with my help). For example, the sensei showed a picture of a calm sea and she said, "The sea is calm, it's a sunny day, we're sailing out to sea in a steady boat". So the babies pretended they are in a boat on a calm sea. They listened to the seagulls calling, the waves lapping, they smelled the sea, they felt the warm sun. Then another picture was shown - the sky is dark, there is lightning - the sensei said, "A storm is coming, the rain falls down, the boat starts to rock from side to side." The babies rocked from side to side, they hid from the rain, they heard the lightning clap. Then the story went on - the storm subsides, all is well, suddenly a shark appears in the water, everyone is scared, but the shark soons goes away and everyone is relieved" and so on. The little babies followed the story with the appropriate reactions. (Of course, at this stage, the parents play all the roles.)

When Ryan graduated to the class for 1 year old and above, the pretend play was more detailed. As the children are still at an early stage of training so, to help them along, we show them a lot of images and give them some props and materials to play with. Some of the scenarios may be unfamiliar to them - you may want them to pretend to go on a picnic but some of the children have never been on a picnic so they would not know what to visualise in their minds. The images and pictures will help.

When Ryan moved up to the class for 2 year olds, we added on the imaginary story.

[Click here to read the rest of this post and to see examples of scenarios for pretend play and imaginary story for Ryan's current level.]


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