Occupational Therapy -> Play -> Imaginative


Imaginative play, or "make-believe", occurs when a child role-plays experiences of interest, such as playing 'house' with their toys. There are various benefits that imaginative play contributes to a child's development. Children engage in imaginative play alone or with others.

Reference links

  • Why Do the Children (Pretend) Play? 1
    Author: Angeline S. Lillard - Pretend play appears to be an evolved behavior because it is universal and appears on a set schedule. However, no specific functions have been determined for pretend play and empirical tests for its functions in humans are elusive. Yet animal play fighting can serve as an analog, as both activities involve as-if, metacommunicative signaling and symbolism. In the rat and some other animals, adaptive functions of play fighting include assisting social behavior and emotion regulation. Research is presented suggesting that pretend play might serve similar functions for humans.
  • Learning Through Play 0
    Author: AOTA - AOTA Tip sheet about the occupation of play. Sensory rich play, manipulative play, imaginative and pretend play, and the just right challenge

Activity List(s)

Visual Schedule Cards


  • Kiki is Flying Comic preview

    Kiki is Flying Comic

    Virginia Ingram, CCC-SLP

    Learn about Kiki’s unique way of flying and how an Occupational Therapist ends up working with Kiki. A great comic for OT month (or anytime you want to discuss what an OT does). Includes a blank co...

    Includes activity list


  • Kiki Blossoms Into Spring preview

    Kiki Blossoms Into Spring

    Bethany Ayer

    Physical Therapy Resource. Exercise Resource. Movement Resource. Occupational Therapy Resource. Blossom with Kiki using these exercises as a session outline or warmup activity.


  • First Day of School Activities preview

    First Day of School Activities

    Bethany Ayer

    Caregivers Handout. Teacher Handout. An easily scalable exercise with the First Day of School theme.

    Includes activity list


  • S is For Shaving Cream - A Sensory Activity preview

    S is For Shaving Cream - A Sensory Activity

    Bethany Ayer

    Sensory Integration Resource. Occupational Therapy Resource. This is meant to be a sensory activity which can assist with reducing tactile sensitivity, encourage pre handwriting skills (by drawing ...


  • Kiki's Emotion Bingo! preview

    Kiki's Emotion Bingo!

    Bethany Ayer

    Emotional Regulation Resource. Occupational Therapy Resource. Language Resource. Kiki's Emotion Bingo can be used as an attention game, identifying emotions, problem solving task, as well as to tar...


  • Back to School Word Hunt preview

    Back to School Word Hunt

    Bethany Ayer

    A quick 1 page printout to get back in the 'back to school' mindset. Have your client write as many items as they can think of for each category.

    Includes activity list