Psychological Development Across the Lifespan

Preschool Years (3–5)

What kind of pretend play takes place in the preschool years?

In keeping with the new capacity for fantasy, children this age are very drawn to pretend play. They love to play dress-up, to pretend to be parents, to play house, or to imitate adult roles that they see in their life, such as a teacher, fireman, or doctor. While some pretend play is evident in the toddler years, it is much more elaborated in the preschool years. A toddler may pretend to talk on the phone or dress up in Mommy’s shoes, but a preschool child enacts whole stories, with different children assigned different roles in the drama.


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