North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Cognitive Development (CD)

Subdomain: Creative Expression

Goal: Children demonstrate self-expression and creativity in a variety of forms and contexts, including play, visual arts, music, drama, and dance.

Skill Progression: Drama

Age: 18-21 Months

Click here to go to all skills for ages 18-21 Months.

Uses objects symbolically in dramatic play (pretends a block is food)

Situations for Observation of Skill

Observe the child in play related to household routines. Use whatever toys are in the child’s play area plus add a few real kitchen materials (plastic or paper plates and bowls, spoons, pot and lid, dish cloths, wash basin, etc.)

Elicitation Strategy

After the child has played spontaneously (with or without adults or siblings), the adult can enter the play and introduce some symbolic represent-tations. For instance, use a long block to call someone, use a small block for food in a bowl, a tissue for a napkin or wash cloth, etc.

Behavior Observed

See if the child accepts the symbolic objects as representing the real object and uses it in play.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Explain to parents what symbolic play is and why it is important. For instance, combined letters represent a word, which is a symbol of a real thing. Symbolic object use is the first step to understanding how an object, picture, or symbol can stand for something else. Encourage early childhood educators and parents to use substitute objects in play with the child so the child practices seeing similarities and uses his imagination.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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