“Imaginative play or pretend play is thinking play”.

Child in pretend play

Pretend play is the focus of Learn to Play Therapy, also known as imaginative, make believe, and symbolic play. Pretend play is the most complex and mature form of play. Pretend play also lights up areas of the brain that other play doesn’t, particularly parts of the brain related to language. This is what pretend play looks like.

Examples of pretend play include: playing cooking, role playing and dress ups as characters such as a princess, playing super heroes, playing with dolls as if they were alive, playing trucks in the sandpit.


Why is pretend play so important for your child?

Pretend play is important for your child’s development, particularly:

  • language, especially narrative language; used in building stories, characters, plots, and themes.
  • emotional integration, expressing, mastering, and learning to regulate their emotions and feelings.
  • social interactions. Building social and interpersonal skills such as turn taking, being able to make friends and inviting others into their play.

Pretend play starts at 11-18 months of age and generally ends around the age of 10-12 years.

Is Learn to Play Therapy suitable for my child?

All children can benefit from having well developed pretend play skills. However, the Learn to Play Therapy Program is best suited to children aged between 2 and 8 years of age.

The Learn to Play Program was created to support children that struggle with pretend play or that don’t yet know how to pretend play. Some children can be delayed in their pretend play ability due to developing at a different rate, others, have a developmental disorder, learning problems, autism spectrum disorder, down’s syndrome or a neurological condition, and therefore need extra support to become accomplished pretend players.

If you have concerns about your child’s pretend play ability or about their development this program could be suitable. For more information or a confidential chat please enquire via the contact us button below.

What is the length & location of the Learn to Play Therapy Program?

The learn to Play Program is approximately 10 to 12 sessions, generally conducted for 30 to 50 minutes per week depending on the age of your child.

The program can take place in a variety of settings, either in clinic, school, child care, kindergarten, or the family home. The setting will be based on the suitability and the appropriateness of the venue.


If you would like to enquire about Learn to Play Therapy for your child, or you are a referring professional please contact us using the button below.