A wide variety of commercial playhouses are available in plastic or wood. You can also improvise your own. Start by making child-size kitchen appliances from cardboard boxes; turn medium ones, for example, into a stove, sink, and refrigerator (see The Extraordinary, Ordinary Cardboard Box). Find a small table and a couple of small chairs. Look around your house for accessories-phones, pots and pans, plastic fruit and vegetables, a small dresser, and so on-keeping in mind that children like to play with real things. Designate a corner of a room to be your child's playhouse. Move her new furniture into the corner and let her know it's all hers. She will enjoy your company and will be delighted to have you join her for a spot of tea.
Pretend play allows children to imitate the nurturing they have experienced at home and to play out situations that might be confusing or causing them anxiety or frustration (such as the arrival of a new sibling or a visit to the doctor). When children pretend, they get to make the rules and thus feel all-powerful and in control of their world.