Play is both serious and necessary for children. Some children like to dress up in different clothes, while others prefer puppets or small toys as a way to express their feelings and ideas or to explore things they are wondering about. Our role is to encourage their creative play and show them that we value their ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

When children pretend, they can explore what it means to be a grownup, superhero, or princess, or what it might feel like to magically be bigger and stronger and in control of everything, or even, at times, be smaller than they really are.

Pretend play gives children a way to build skills that can help them cope, learn, and become all that they can be.

In this set of resources, we will use video and a song from DANIEL TIGER'S NEIGHBORHOOD to focus on ways in which you can encourage and show children and families that creative pretend play is valued and important.

When children participate in pretend play, they are developing their imaginations and language skills, exploring new ideas and roles, engaging in conversations that require problem–solving and social skills, and working on early literacy skills such as symbolic thinking. As Fred Rogers said, "Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning, but for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood."