A Comparison of the Pretending Elements between Constructive Play and Pretend Play



Pretending elements are ‘as-if’ elements. Pretending, in that it represents reality in ‘as if’ terms. Pretending elements demand symbolic transformation that is, pretending a role, pretending with an object, and pretending a situation. The term ‘pretend play’ is named as a symbolic play, imaginative play, make-believe play, fantasy play, and dramatic play. Pretend play allows children to explore their fears in a safe setting. A child can begin to overcome his or her fear of doctors by donning a lab coat and stethoscope and becoming the person who scares him or her. He or she replaces his or her fear with a sense of control (Colker, 2015). Through their pretend play, children create new pretend situations. These can contain within them a wide range of seemingly unconnected elements all drawn from the child’s previous experiences. Pretend acts as a way of unifying experiences, knowledge, and understanding, helping the child to discover the links between the individual components. As children control the pretend play, they are also able to control its components. Children bring to the pretend to play existing knowledge, skills, and the understanding of the world, which they then assimilate within an existing scheme or create new and novel interconnections (Kitson, 2015; Wood, 2004).    


Constructive play also has pretending elements. Constructive play involves open-ended exploration and gradually more functional, then evolving to ‘make-believe’ transformations. Four-and 5-year-olds often switch back and forth between constructive and pretend play, and it can be difficult to distinguish between the two forms of play (Kostelnik, Soderman, & Whiren, 2007; Drew, Christie, Johnson, Meckley, & Nell, 2008). The block construction, even without clear representational status for cars and trains, are symbolic expressions (Forman, 2006). Both pretend play and constructive play include symbolic modes of representations (Kostelnik, Soderman, & Whiren, 2004).