Pretend play may seem like all fun and games on the surface. In reality, this type of play forms an integral part of your child’s development. As children grow, they constantly learn about the world around them. Adult behaviour is often modelled, roles are explored and a number of social, emotional, language and cognitive skills are developed.
Why is pretend play so important, and how can you encourage this type of play to ensure that your little one reaps the rewards of imaginative play? Let’s take a look.
The Importance of Pretend Play
Some of the most significant benefits of pretend play in childhood development include the following:
Social & Emotional Skills
Both of these skills are essential, preparing your child for the many interactions they will have once they begin to expand their social horizons. Imaginative play allows kids to actively experiment with social and emotional roles. Through this type of play, kids learn how to share, take turns, and solve problems creatively. They also learn empathy through role play, which in turn helps them better understand the world around them. Self-esteem is also boosted when children feel free enough to be anyone or anything they want to be in play.
As any parent who has ever listened in on a tea party or pretend phone conversation knows, kids often recite things they hear their parents say. Role-playing and other types of imaginative games help children improve their language skills, by acting out stories and movies. These skills are vital when your child learns how to read.
A number of cognitive skills are also nurtured through this type of play. Children need to learn how to solve problems, plan pretend houses and develop basic strategies. These skills are used not only in childhood but also in adulthood, making them extremely important.
There are many ways to help kids benefit from this type of play. From treasure chests packed full of dress-up costumes to rolls of paper that allow future young entrepreneurs to make their own shopping lists, old calculators and phones that no longer work, non-toxic makeup and face painting, handmade masks, puppet theatres, fun wigs, teddy bear tea parties, old kitchen utensils, old postcards, used travel tickets, large empty boxes and crates, and various other props.
You can also browse our beautifully made pretend play toys and products to find more ideas that are sure to ensure an added boost of imagination in your little ones play.