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Parent and child playing with stacking toy

Each quarter, Richland First Steps selects one school readiness goal from the SC Early Learning Standards (SCELS) to spotlight and explore throughout our programs for children, families, and childcare providers.

This quarter’s readiness goal spotlight comes from the Play and Learning Development domain of the SCELS. We will share strategies to explore this goal through MAKE-BELIEVE PLAY in children birth to 36 months+.

This is what make-believe play looks like!

toddler on a swing

Birth to 18 months

When she/he coos, squeals, or moves arms and legs respond as if they talked to you. This will develop turn-taking and conversations.

  • Playing peek a boo: This helps to develop your child’s object permanence, which means they learn that you are still there even though you are behind your hands or disappear under the table, behind the blanket, etc.
  • Singing songs: Use the old favorites of the itsy-bitsy spider, this little piggy, or five little monkeys jumping on the bed.
toddler on slide

18 months – 36 months

  • Taking turns talking: Talking to your child about things you see while at the store, the park or driving in the car. Even though you may not quite understand all the words it allows your child to learn turn taking and develop stories.
  • Having a stuffed animal tea party: Gather items from their room and set up a blanket that both you, your child, and the stuffed animals can sit down on. Give out a cup to everyone and pretend to drink out of the cup. This will also develop small motor muscles and teach your child how to drink out of an open cup.
three toddlers playing

36 months+

  • Playing dress up with props: These do not need to be store-bought items. Sometimes it is an old shirt, jacket or shoes that will help them make-believe what they want to be such as a zookeeper, storekeeper, or a doctor.
  • Pretending to be a chef: Allow your child to help make breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Give them a task that is appropriate for their age such as slicing the hot dog with a butter knife or helping mix the flour with the water. Help to cut out cookies using a cookie cutter. The possibilities are endless!

Richland First Steps follows the HSELOF and SCELS models.

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