Everyone knows that children love to pretend. But did you know that pretending can actually help with learning?

More specifically, we’re talking about drama in the preschool curriculum!

People of all ages tend to remember things better when they do them:

  • People remember 10% of what they read
  • 20% of what they hear
  • 30% of what they see
  • 50% of what they see and hear
  • 90% of what they see, hear and DO

Drama is an excellent way to learn by doing! It centers the child as an active participant in the learning process instead of just a passive observer. It promotes cognitive, emotional, physical and social development and can be used to teach a wide range of subjects.

And your child doesn’t have to be a future Oscar winner to reap the benefits of preschool drama. Let’s take a look at how drama games for preschoolers promote early learning.

  • Cognitive development. A lesson about animals could include mimicking the sounds and behaviors of dogs, cats, horses and other creatures. Acting out the content helps children understand new skills and concepts by practicing them hands-on. It also encourages them to use their imaginations to develop original ideas.
  • Emotional development. Role-playing, such as “playing” doctor and other careers, gives children a safe space to explore the appropriate emotional reactions to different types of situations. This can prepare the student to deal with the ups and downs we all encounter in daily life.
  • Development of motor skills. Another great example of dramatic play is letting kids act out the lyrics to a song, which gets everyone out of their seats so they can practice all-important skills like running, jumping, clapping, dancing, crawling, climbing or even using everyday items as props.
  • Social development. Drama lets children implement class material in cooperation with their peers and teachers. They learn to examine different social roles and develop empathy for the characters in the story as well as the people they meet in real life.
  • Language and reading skills. Storytime is more fun when children get to act out the characters. Students can use their own words and actions to portray the personalities of, say, the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. It helps to build stronger connections between the words in the text and the characters, objects and activities they describe.
  • Problem solving. Pretend play is a great vehicle for critical thinking. If the Three Little Pigs need to build a house, how will they build it? How big will it be? What should the house be made of? Open-ended questions tap into children’s natural curiosity and provide a safe space for trying out ideas and revising them.
  • Learning across subjects. When kids portray the Little Pigs building their house, they’re also engaging in subjects like science and engineering (Why is the brick house stronger than the straw house?) and math (How big should the house be?). According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, performing arts like drama, music and dance can boost learning in non-arts subjects.

Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Preschool®. Creatively Shine™ curriculum emphasizes hands-on activities and project-based learning, and drama is one of many ways to make learning fun and memorable for all students. Some locations also include theater stages for school productions.

Contact a Little Sunshine’s Playhouse® near you to learn more!