Kids love to play pretend and role play in general. What child wouldn’t want to pretend to be a superhero or a favorite teacher? In this activity that you can do on the bus, taxi or when just stuck in traffic, you can build up your child’s confidence in speech by actively encouraging their creativity in English expression.
Objective(s) of activity:
The primary objective is role play with your child various scenarios that they encounter in daily life.
Targeted age group:
5 to 8 year olds are perfect for this activity although you can see tips for scaling up the activity for older children.
Number of participants:
Personally, I have been able to carry out this activity alone with my daughter. If you have more than one child you can involve all of them although this may be a little bit more difficult to keep under control. I would recommend that an adult always be part of this exercise so as to be able to keep the activity on track.
Specific directions and notes:
1) Make sure your child knows you are going to play pretend. I always find it useful to ask my daughter the following question: ‘Do you want to play pretend honey?’ The answer is invariably yes and this sets up the beginning of the activity.
2) Think of a number of scenarios beforehand with the requisite number of people. If the activity only involves you and a child, then the scenario requires only two individuals. Some possible scenarios involving two individuals are the following:
a) An interaction between a superhero and the villain
b) A retail interaction (eg. a fish monger and a customer)
c) A parent and child conversation (eg. swap roles between you and your child)
A few more such scenarios are described below with more detail.
2. Gently encourage your child to speak in full sentences. Do not worry about whether the
sentences are grammatical. The objective is to get your child to express him/ herself confidently
using full sentences.
3. You can make the activity more fun by using different voices for different characters. (eg. deeper
voice for the villain)
Notes for scaling up difficulty:
Scaling up the activity for older children mostly involves using appropriate scenarios. While younger children might like superheros and villains, older children may be more interested in subverting power relations. (eg. getting the child to pretend to be you when you are angry etc)
Non-exhaustive list of possible scenarios:
a) Teacher and child
This is a scenario my daughter absolutely loves. She has a favorite teacher in school and she likes pretending to be her. An added bonus of this scenario is that you can actually get the child to role play her day in school so as to give you a brief insight into what your child’s day was like. As such, this is a scenario that you can carry out every day as every day is bound to be different.
b) Policeman and robber that is being interrogated
c) Parent 1 and Parent 2
In this scenario, you can specify a scene where the two parents are deciding on a place to eat and the usual issues that arise from that.
d) Parent and child
You can ask the child to be you in a specific scenario. For example, my daughter is a notoriously
slow eater and there is often a lot of nagging that takes place during meal times.
e) Famous people and their fans
Choose some celebrity your child is familiar with and act out a scene where the fan is asking the
celebrity for an autograph or a selfie.
The sky is the limit as far as these scenarios are concerned! Let me know what fun scenarios you have come up with in the comments.