Children from 3 to 5 years on become less focused on themselves and their interest in other children increases. Because their language is becoming more complex, their interactions with other children last longer. They begin to share ideas and solve problems together. They enjoy taking the roles of leader or follower, and they give roles to each other in their play: 'You be the dad, I'll be the mum! Joey can be the baby!' Plots will be discussed and played out: ‘Now you go to the table and I will come in and serve dinner!’ Because children are working together and the play is lasting longer, this is called cooperative play.
By providing for role play, imaginative or dramatic play you can encourage cooperative play. You might include dress-ups, cubbies, home furniture or other props that children can use to dramatise with. Car mats, block corners and dress up areas all give children the opportunity to develop ideas for imaginative play.