The Right Place for Props

Delivery Method: 

A setup carefully staged to include a tablecloth, wooden plates, and a floral centerpiece, gives the children a sense of purpose. Notice the importance the toddlers assign to these props as the centerpiece becomes a catalyst for debate that encourages the children to negotiate. Sam (navy blue shirt) urges his friends to move the centerpiece to the counter. Colin (red and blue striped shirt) laments, “We don’t have a flower.” Colin may assume that the floral centerpiece, combined with the tablecloth, makes their experience more serious and authentic, like the world of adults. He wants the centerpiece there as an aesthetic prop. The presence of the plates creates an expectation among the children that they are waiting for food to be served. Colin notes, “I have a plate but no food” (00:07). Notice how Lander (light blue shirt) expectantly marks the absence of his plate by running his finger over the tabletop (00:58). Sam may want to remove the centerpiece in order to clear space for food to be served as he eagerly takes on the role of chef saying, “I’m gonna make pancakes and waffles” (01:19). How might changing the position of props change children’s pretend play? When designing dramatic play spaces, what social roles might the props and furniture encourage? Length of video: 1 minute 33 seconds Keywords: Twos, Children-Children, Pretense, Communication, Props