Archie and Ella Play (A 2- and 4-Year old play differently)

What is pretend play?

When working with parents and families, it is helpful to have a handout that compliments what you are explaining to them, as well as giving further information. In this section there are parent handouts to download. Each of the handout titles will come in two versions – a full version and a brief version. The full version has more explanation, and the brief version says what the full version says but with less words and more pictures.  Both full and brief versions are supplied as different families have different needs.

The handout series starts with ‘What is pretend play?’ (in full version and brief version). This handout is a free download and it explains to parents what pretend play is and a little bit about why it is important.

What is Pretend Play (Full)

What is Pretend Play (Brief)

Why pretend play is important for school (Full version)

Why pretend play is important for school (Brief version)


There are more handouts being prepared: These will come in a group of 10. The titles are:

  • Why pretend play is important for social peer play
  • Pretend play – thinking skills of play
  • Pretend play, stories and language
  • Pretend play and dressing up – who am I?
  • Pretend play and teddy
  • Using objects as something else
  • Ideas for play
  • How to encourage pretend play at home
  • Ideas for playing in groups


Parents Learn to Play program

Learn to Play with Parents (LPP) is a program to develop the spontaneous initiation of pretend play skills of children. Research tells us that pretend play is important for children in developing problem solving, flexible thinking, and logical sequences in their thoughts. When children learn how to play, they begin to understand the play of their peers, and pretend play is important for their emotional well-being. Many children cannot play; this program helps parents learn active ways to help their children increase their spontaneous pretend play, with the direct assistance of a play/occupational therapist. This approach can be used for children with developmental delay, learning problems, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down’s syndrome, and neurological conditions.

As a parent you are extremely important to your child. You are influential in the skills you can facilitate in your child’s development as well as providing a safe, predictable and secure environment. We now know that through a parent’s care, love, and emotional bonding a child’s brain develops and that play gives the ‘fertiliser’ for that growth. Six skills are covered in this program.

Pilot parent learn to play further information

Download – Pilot parent learn to play handouts


The Neurodiversity Movement and Learn to Play Therapy

Please find our statement on the Neurodiversity Movement and Learn to Play Therapy here