Animals Pretend & Play – Child

ETTS Animals Pretend and Play ChildChildren’s pretend play becomes more complex as they include animal characters and act out longer ‘stories’ with more actions. For example, your child may act out the pet’s role while playing ‘house’, or pretend to be a vet or pet shop owner.

Did you know?

Pretend play with animals helps your child to work out their place in the world. They can show understanding, empathy and care for other creatures. They can work through possible fears and anxiety related to animals. This all helps in developing emotional maturity.

Early literacy

Children can be encouraged to share books with either their pets or stuffed animals. This gives them practice at their early literacy and pre-reading skills in holding the book the right way up, turning the pages and telling the story from the pictures.

Other development

Children act out their understanding of human and animal relationships through pretend play.

Children may enjoy creating different animal habitats with nature or craft materials. This develops their thinking and reasoning skills, imagination, creativity, as well as their fine motor skills.


There are lots of simple craft ideas for making different animals out of recycled household items such as cardboard rolls, egg cartons, milk bottle tops and boxes. You can get great ideas from an internet search! These craft activities are great opportunities for children to express themselves and develop their imagination, creativity and fine motor skills.

Across the ages

All the activities listed on our “Play Ideas” page can be applied across different age groups. See how Animals – Pretend and Play can be fun for babies, toddlers and playgroups.

Activities listed under “children” are suitable for children 3 years and older. Children of this age enjoy more complex activities where they can develop their skills and use their imagination while playing with friends.