The role of pretend play

Watch the following two videos. Can you suggest how these illustrate the points made by Vygotsky about the value of pretend play for development? You might want to re-read the relevant section in Chapter 7). In particular the points made regarding:

  • Children playing at a level beyond their current stage in life
  • Using one object to represent another
  • Learning to follow rules of behaviour and learning about the social world

Baking Bread

A 2 year-old boy makes a mud pie. He uses a ladle to fill up a cake tin with dirt. He then goes to show his teacher the cake.  ‘Is that a cake?  What kind of cake?’ she asks.  He puts the cake down. ‘Has it been in the oven?’ his teacher askes. ‘Yes’, he says.  They pretend to eat the cake. The boy explains he is going to go sell the cake in the doll house. He takes the cake to a play house and puts it down on the table. He picks at the cake a little bit and sings to himself. A little girl enters the play house and sees the cake. ‘Is that bread for me?’ she asks. ‘No’, says the boy.

Picking Grass for Baby

A two year-old girl picks grass and places it in a bucket. She then takes the grass and the baby and gets in a toy car. Later she pretends to feed the baby tea and grass.