Your Child now plays being a chef cooking in the kitchen or a pilot flying an airplane. Pretend play is a critically important milestone for Your Child’s creative development, as it introduces the idea that one thing can become another.
Sometime between 12 – 24 months, most children start to play make-believe, also known as pretend play. This loosely structured form of play includes role-play and object substitution: children cook with random toys or turn the carpet into a racing boat. This milestone is another mark that Your Child’s learning and understanding ability has developed enough to understand complex concepts, such as the possibility of one thing becoming another. Imaginative play such as these examples are a great tool to help improve children’s communication, social and problem-solving skills.
How to support this development
Provide Your Child with toys that represent real-life objects — cooking utensils, for example. As the little one’s creativity develops, you can join in on the play and start adding a less obvious object for Your Child to play with so as to encourage them to think outside the box — for example, using a blanket as a cape or a bottle as a rocket.
Note: All children develop differently and at their own pace. For children born preterm, the referred timeframe for achieving the various developmental milestones might be incorrect.
Sources: The information and graphs about when children reach specific milestones are taken from various sources, including the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Denver Developmental Screening Test, and the State Institute of Early Childhood Research, Germany (IFP).
Ketsupa Jirakarn (Mental health specialist) (13 June 2021)