Chapter 9. Pretend Play: Theories and Functions

  1. Peter K. Smith

Published Online: 24 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444311006.ch9

Children and Play

Children and Play

How to Cite

Smith, P. K. (2009) Pretend Play: Theories and Functions, in Children and Play, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444311006.ch9

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 17 APR 2009

Book Series:

  1. Understanding Children's Worlds

Book Series Editors:

  1. Judy Dunn

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631235217

Online ISBN: 9781444311006



  • pretend play - theories and functions;
  • arguments for benefits of pretend or fantasy play;
  • evolution of pretend play;
  • cross-cultural universality of pretend play;
  • pretend play, imagination, and creativity;
  • pretend play, narratives, and early literacy;
  • pretend play and theory of mind;
  • theories concerning benefits of pretend play;
  • models of role of pretend play in development


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Arguments for Benefits of Pretend or Fantasy Play

  • Theories Concerning the Function of Pretend Play

  • Models of the Role of Pretend Play in Development

  • Evidence for the Functions of Pretend Play

  • Experimental Studies

  • Further Reading