Nothing is more crucial to a child’s development than play. As it is commonly said: Play is child’s work. Children learn about the world through play and toys and ‘dressing-up’ and role-play is an essential part of this exercise.
When children don a superhero costume, or pretend to be a doctor or teacher, they are using their knowledge of that subject coupled with their imagination – and that can never be a bad thing. In pretending to be someone else, they are learning the ways of that world or person or profession.
Here are some roleplay ideas to encourage your child – depending on their interests and personalities – that also educate them about possible future professions.
1. Doctor/ Nurse
This is probably the most common role assumed during child’s play. Children love to play ‘doctor’ or ‘nurse’ and cure their sick parents (what fun it is to give mummy or daddy an injection!). Take this opportunity to teach them about the amazing work doctors and nurses do and if your child has a natural propensity to help people, this could in fact be a possible career option for them in the future.
Got a fiery, feisty kid who will not back down without an argument? Or will fight till the end to prove they are right? Then you could have a potential lawyer in the making! Make a pretend court and create a pretend case, and watch your child come into their element as an aggressive criminal defense attorney or a judge.
Another extremely common role-play option, probably because children are most exposed to teachers in school. But you will soon realise if your child is just imitating his/ her teacher or has a genuine love for imparting and sharing knowledge. If so, encourage it with more pretend-classroom scenarios. Who knows, you could be honing the skills of a future Yale University Professor!
This is a tricky one as children don’t really know what or who an activist is, and you don’t really see an activist’s costume next to a doctor’s or a fireman’s in the kid’s costume section! But if you see your child leaning towards fighting for something they believe in, or a particular cause or justice, hey presto, you’ve got a future activist in the making. Educate them about things they can relate to, such as standing up against bullies and treating both genders equally. Make it into a game.
If your child loves animals, especially caring for them, then playing vet instead of the conventional doctor/ nurse could be more enjoyable for them and possibly introduce the idea of professionally caring for hurt animals one day. Line up your child’s animal soft toys, tell your child he/she is a special ‘animal doctor’ and see how your child responds.
6. Firefighter/ Police
Two other common role-play characters, with plenty of costumes also available for the part! But if you see a streak of daring and bravery in your child, coupled with a natural penchant to help others, then encourage playing fire-figher or police. If you see your child has a genuine interest in these professions, probably take them for a tour of a fire-station r see if they can meet an actual firefighter.