What you need...
• A doll. Any size is acceptable as long as it can be easily held by small hands. Rag dolls can be useful as they are soft and manoeuvrable.
• Props and other toys, such as crayons, a fire engine, a dog, etc. Make sure that these other toys can be used to interact with the doll (e.g. the doll pets the dog, or decides to draw with the crayons). The more toys for interaction, the better!
How to prepare...
1. Set up a table with the doll and other toys spaced out across the surface.
2. Seat the children around the table so that they can reach the toys nearest them, and can clearly see you operating the doll.
The activity process...
1. Tell a story with the doll about what they have done this week. For example, on Tuesday they may have met a neighbour’s dog, and on Friday they may have gone to the shop for sweets.
2. Set up the scenario and then ask and encourage the children to think about what might happen next. For example, they might say that petting the dog led to the dog licking the doll’s hand, or say which sweets they think were bought at the shop. Ensure that every child is able to make a contribution, and allow them to suggest other ideas that may or may not relate to the toys on the table.
3. Allow each child time to operate the doll and decide what they might do next. Encourage them to say why they have chosen that activity for the doll, or to think about the outcome of those actions. For example, if the doll went for a swim they might be tired afterwards.
4. For 40-60+ months, encourage children to describe a sequence of events, linking their story together. For example, the doll going to school, coming home and eating dinner, then having a bedtime story.
Tracking this activity...
Communication and Language: Speaking; “Uses talk to connect ideas, explain what is happening and anticipate what might happen next, recall and relive past experiences.”
Communication and Language: Speaking; “Uses language to imagine and recreate roles and experiences in play situations. Introduces a storyline or narrative into their play.”