Pretend Play: What Animal Are You?

Pretend Play: Be an Animal. What animal are you?

We came across these very friendly gophers (Richardson Ground Squirrels/Prairie Dogs) on one of our summer road trips. Very tame. And they knew what our cooler contained. Fancy that.

Sometimes it can drive us parents slightly bonkers when we set a nice meal on the table only to be joined by a dog dressed as our youngest child. They try to eat without hands. Try to lap the water out of their glass (if they haven’t already asked for an accommodation in the form of a water dish). Their communication has been reduced to indecipherable yips, barks, growls, and slobbering. And yet they don’t eat the food off the floor…

Pretend Play is Beneficial for Kids

Sure, sometimes it tries our patience. But when kids are pretending to be an animal they are actually learning. (And no, not what makes mom and dad hit the roof. Seriously, do you have to pretend I am a fire hydrant? And no, I will not tie this cord around your fragile neck and take you for a walk. Ah!)

Kids learn through play. And by pretending to be an animal, they are experiencing what it is like to be that creature. Via play they are discovering an animal’s point of view and developing empathy for that animal (as well as others). And by learning about others, they are in turn, learning about themselves and how they differ from animals. And the best way to learn that is by being hands on.

What Animal Are You?

My daughter has worn the knees in many a pair of jeans pretending to be horses and dogs. Perennial favourites for her. Although the way she eats resembles a chipmunk–as did I at that age. Hmmm. And in a few minutes my one-year-old will wake from his nap meowing like a cat. Let’s hope he doesn’t chase the chipmunk!

Welcome to the Oram Family Zoo. Admission is free and you are welcome to pet and feed the animals. They are mostly tame.

What animal would you like to be today? How about your kids?


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  1. Reply

    Whenever we eat chicken, my nephew pretends he’s a chicken hawk. And after dinner he rolls himself in a blanket and declares that he’s hiding venomous babies.

  2. Reply

    My favorite animal to be is a gibbon. When I worked at a zoo, I was taught to talk to our gibbon. yes…I thoroughly enjoyed talking to a gibbon when I went to work. My daughter and I were just making gibbon noises on a hike in the woods yesterday!

    • Reply

      I have to admit: I am VERY curious how you would talk to a gibbon. (Because you were “taught” I assume there is a method?) A friend and I used to pretend to be a run-of-the-mill ape when we taught skiing. We’d drag our knuckles and make awful noises. The kids loved it, but I’m not sure what our boss thought. 😉

      Thanks for your comment, Eric.

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