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Stacking Blocks

Learn To Play

Focusing on a child's pretend play ability and building on these skills for their development. For children 2 - 12 years of age. 

Learn to Play Therapy is a therapeutic play program that aims to build spontaneous pretend play ability of children and/or remediate pretend play ability for children who are experiencing difficulties in this area. Learn to Play Therapy is focused on the functional acquisition of pretend play skills.

So, what is pretend play?

Pretend play is often referred to as fantasy play, dramatic play, or imaginary play. It’s a type of play where your child enters the imaginary world.

Pretend play has three main features:

  • The child applies ‘real’ attributes to properties, for example, Teddy is grumpy, Dolly is happy, or the car has got a flat tyre.

  • The child acts ‘as if’ and makes reference to absent objects. For example, a child might imagine that they’re in the jungle and riding on an elephant, when really the floor space is empty.

  • The child uses object substitution, which is using an object to represent something else. For example, using a shoe box as a house or as a bed for Dolly.

Pretend play is associated with many developmental domains and acts as a gateway for development for all children. The varied and wide reach of development that pretend play is associated with includes:

Visual perceptual skills, language, fine motor skills, problem solving, narrative thinking, social skills, emotional regulation, literacy competency, divergent thinking, and gross motor skills.


The pretend play skills that the Play Therapist will look out for and help to develop and consolidate along the way include:

Play scripts, sequences of play actions, object substitution, doll/teddy play, role play, and social interaction.

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