Role Play in Mathematics

Role play can be described as range of activities that mirror real life under a controlled environment.  It can be based around a ‘snapshot’ or reality or it could be taken from a ‘made up’ event.  Role play can allow children to manipulate time and space, restricted only by children’s imagination.  Role play has so many benefits as it  allows children to make sense of what they see and hear.  Role play can offer a way for children to be deeply immersed in their learning.  Role play can be used in many settings.  Using role play in an educational setting allows children to broaden their knowledge and understanding.  This is why role play can be a powerful tool in facilitating mathematical knowledge and understanding.


Role play not only is beneficial to pupils but to teachers as well.  As role play can help teachers to gain a more in-depth idea of a child’s knowledge of mathematical concepts.  An example of this could be creating a shop to check children’s understanding of exchanging money.  Role play can chance the feel of a classroom environment and change it into a creative learning space.  That could be because role play is seen as creative it may feel more like play to children than work.  As a result children might be more motivated to engage in activities.  Role play can teach some skills that are very difficult to learn in more traditional ways; such as self-awareness, problem solving, communication, initiative and team work. As role play is more creative; children might enjoy being active and therefore remember more, developing a greater knowledge and understanding.  Role play can make children feel more comfortable in real life situations as they already know the procedure e.g. buying items form a shop.  Role play can make learning real for children.  It allows children to explore their feelings and understanding in a non-threatening environment.




Bottle, G. (2005) Teaching Mathematics in the Primary School. Continnuum-3PL.

Briggs, M. (2014) Creative Teaching Mathematics in the Primary Classroom. Routledge.

Cummings, A. and Featherstone, S. (2009) Role Play in the Early Years. Featherstone Education.

Lee, T. and Pound, L. (2015) Teaching Mathematics Creatively. Routledge.

Matwiejczuk, K. (1997) Role Play: Theory and Practice. SAGE Publications LTD.

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