Learn to Play

What is the Learn to Play Program? Who is it for?

Learn to Play is a therapeutic program that supports children who are eight years or younger with developmental delays, autism spectrum disorders, or those who find playing difficult and need help playing with friends. During the Learn to Play therapy sessions, your child will have time to develop pretend play skills that are expected for their development and age. The sessions will provide a range of play and learn activities that match your child’s current development and where they feel most comfortable. The play therapy activities will gradually challenge your child as their pretend play skills begin to develop.

After initial assessment with one of our child behaviour specialists, your child will be guided through weekly Learn to Play sessions by the therapist that will help them initiate spontaneous play, further developing their emotional and social cognition.

Why are Pretend Play Skills Important?

Pretend play is the most complex form of play and is an essential building block for healthy childhood and brain development.

It can assist children to regulate emotion, boost creativity, improve problem solving skills, engage in abstract thought, develop language skills and build social confidence.

Pretend play begins to develop when a child is around two years old. You may see children pretending to give a drink out of a cup to their doll or using a block as a phone, placing it to their ear the way adults do. Children often imitate what they have seen or heard from their lives through pretend play. For example, going to the doctors, playing shops, dress ups, trains or cars. While it comes naturally for most children, for some it is more difficult to initiate imaginative play.

Pretend play lays the foundation for pre-literacy, such as reading and writing. It allows children to comprehend stories and narratives, giving them the confidence to express themselves. By learning through play, they’ll also get to practice life-long, valuable skills such as healthy sharing, negotiating, cooperation and collaboration. Children who have complex levels of pretend play are more able to positively interact with their peers, especially when working through conflict.

Pretend play helps children practice strategies when they are upset or angry too. As children play, they may focus on emotions – for example, making a teddy really sad because it hurt himself, the child may create crying noises or they may comfort the Teddy. Raising children to engage in daily pretend play will have a higher ability to regulate their emotions compared to children who engage in less pretend play.

Do you want to know a bit more?

Get in touch with us to book an initial consultation or request more information.

Therapy that includes play can calm the storm in your child’s inner world and bring some well-deserved harmony to your home.

Get In Touch


Here’s what our clients had to say about their children and our Play Therapy Melbourne:

Children’s therapy centre

We began play therapy hoping that it would be an effective way of breaking the difficult cycle that I was in with my son. Our play therapist, Mardi, has a beautiful manner with our son and we have valued her insightful observations about what may be underlying his behaviours.

Danielle (Mother)
Filial Therapy Melbourne Testimonial

The combination of the play therapy and implementing her simple strategies has been very effective in changing things at home. We have found play therapy to be very beneficial for our family and are now undertaking filial therapy to continue to reap the rewards of the play therapy approach.

Karen & Rob (Parents)
Play Therapy Melbourne Testimonial

Natalie is fun, bright and bubbly. Through Play Therapy, she was easily able to connect with my child and we cannot believe how much he has transformed from being an anxious and unsure little boy, into the settled, confident and social child he is now.

Emma (Parent)

My child has a trauma background. He’s getting the Play therapy for about 9 months now. I can’t not thank Helen enough for her help and support . It’s been a very hard journey but the result is amazing. He has got great control on his emotions. He is a happy boy now 🙂

Mark & Linda (Parents)
Child Therapy Melbourne Testimonial

Donna’s play therapy & animal assisted therapy work has been instrumental in supporting & developing an understanding of the underlying issues of our disengaged refugee students. Her expertise has also been welcomed by staff who needed insight in engaging & developing strategies to meet the needs of our highly challenging students.

Ivan Araujo (Dandenong West Primary Youth Worker)

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