Role playing is an effective tool when it comes to naming, identifying emotions and setting the behavioral tone right. Often, children do not understand how their actions affect others or how they should behave as they are not mentally mature to empathize and visualize situation. They need to be taught and explained. But too such lecturing also has its perils. This is where role playing comes in. It is a fun activity which let children think and relate to situations.
For this activity, you will need:
If it is the first time of role playing, you can take fewer members like mother, child and sibling/friend. The selection of family members depends on the scene you are trying to re-create. In case your child has trouble sharing, I suggest you recreate play-time sharing activity.
Start with cutting out the silhouette of the family members and glue them on the craft sticks. After, the puppets are ready explain your child that you are going to play a simple play-time (in this case) activity and she will have to act accordingly. Lay out the situation, where you act as the friend and your child is visiting her house. Engage in simple playful dialogues for as few minutes before introducing the situation. Since you are acting as a friend, invite your child to take turns and play with your(friend’s) toys.
Emphasize, how much fun it is to play as a team rather than playing alone which is so boring. End the scene on a positive note. For the next scene, the friend visits your child’s house. Let your child be imaginative. You might be surprised if she herself starts sharing her toys during the role play. If not, bring up a situation where in the friends asks if she can share some of your child’s toys. See, how your child reacts. If she is still not sharing, you bring the mother puppet in and encourage her and gently remind her how much fun she had the other day when her friend shared toys. Build empathy by saying, that would make your friend sad and want her to back to her home.
You will be amazed, how children, through the medium of role play, pick up the important social skills which we try to imbibe in them. You can use different situations and even teach problem solving skills with this simple game. Later, when your child is accustomed to role-playing you can add pets and various props.
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