Gallery 6

Role Play

Three young girls playing in a toy bakery, and serving a woman.

Children can observe, imitate and invent make-believe situations (which develops imagination and creativity).

How it works

Setwork, toys and props resembling a:

  • Bakery
  • Vet or Animal Hospital
  • Mechanic's Garage and
  • Building Construction Zone

create identifiable worlds for young visitors to pretend they work and live in these worlds.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

The best way to help your child in Role Play is to simply watch your child or join in their role play as a customer (while giving your child the freedom to direct their own play).


A mock up baker designed for small children to play in

Role Play allows children to ‘try on’ different situations to help them understand the world around them. It also allows some degree of control and emotional release.

Very young children engage in active play, where they explore and manipulate their surroundings. As toddlers grow, they:

  • play alone (solitary play)
  • play side-by-side (parallel play) and later
  • copy others (imitative play).

By the age of 3 or 4 years, children begin to engage in constructive play. This requires planning ahead and manipulating objects such as building a tower of blocks. Socially, they are fi ne-tuning their skills for cooperative play. The social interaction helps them to learn to live with others. Dramatic play for pre-schoolers is an outlet for expressing feelings and it provides opportunities for developing language skills.

School aged children are capable of playing games with rules established by adults or created by the children themselves. They have a better understanding of sharing and taking turns and at this stage, much of their time is spent setting up and deciding on rules and roles.