Make believe describes a loosely structured form of role-playing. Make believe generally has no rules except to stay in character, and requires no specific props. It is normally restricted to young, pre-pubescent children, and aside from its straightforward purpose of fun can sometimes also serve the purpose of allowing children to explore adult roles and relationships. Make believe play can reveal a lot about a child's psychological state, perception of gender roles, home life and interpretation of the world that is around them.
Participants in games of make believe may draw upon many sources for inspiration. Welsch describes book-related pretend play, wherein children draw upon texts to initiate games. Children seem most interested in texts with, for example, significant levels of tension.
Children engage in make believe for a number of reasons. Play allows children to "deal with fears in a safe setting." It also allows them to "indulge their secret fantasies."
In a study, Welsch found that "children engaged in sophisticated levels of play with the provided props."
- ^ a b c Welsch, Jodi German. "They're really pencils, but we're going to pretend that they're sticks": The influence of props and adult involvement on at-risk preschoolers' book-related pretend play. Diss. University of Virginia, 2003. Dissertations & Theses: Full Text, ProQuest. Web. 27 May. 2012.
- ^ a b Theroux, Phyllis. "Let's Pretend. " Parents 1 May 1987: Children's Module, ProQuest. Web. 27 May. 2012.