Preschoolers enjoy the challenges of experimenting with a wide variety of media and tools, using them to express their feelings, ideas, and wishes while sharpening their basic skills. Threes and fours regularly use dramatic play as a way to express their ideas and feelings and feel in control and powerful.
Pretend play also allows your children to take risks safely as they express their points of view. Threes like to play act scenarios about things they know, such as family situations. For example, they may express their real needs when they pretend to be "the baby" as a new little brother presents a home-front challenge by getting lots of attention.
How Parents Can Support Self-Expression:
- Provide opportunities for your children to test their ideas. Be flexible with schedules to nurture your children's spontaneity and curiosity. Give your children plenty of time to make decisions, play, and reflect on their discoveries.
- Encourage your children to reach the next level. Talk to them about their ideas and encourage them to describe how they feel about their innovations and accomplishments.
- Be a good listener. Give your children your full attention as they express their feelings and ideas. Share their excitement. Write down their comments for documentation.
- Share books that show characters expressing themselves in various ways. In the book The Squiggle by Carole Lexa Schaefer, a creative little girl models for her classmates all the exciting things she can do with a piece of yarn. See if your children are interested in sharing what they can do!