Both my boys love pretend play and luckily it often comes naturally to kids. If it doesn’t or you want to encourage it more there are many different ways. Pretend play involves playing out a story, being a character in role-play, or making an object come alive. Creating various scenarios together, clopping around in grown-up shoes, or twirling around with friends in fairytale land, children learn problem-solving. They learn coordination, cooperation, and flexible thinking this way. When children play pretend, they use their imagination to create an imaginary person and situation, where more is going on than what is happening.
Albert Einstein once said: “Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” Pretend play helps to develop skills in many essential areas.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PRETEND PLAY
Through pretend play, a child can achieve overall development. It allows children to experiment and learn different skills, enhance creativity and explore new ideas. Here are some benefits of imaginative play:
Social and emotional skills
When your child is engrossed in dramatic play, they learn to share responsibilities, take turns, and solve problems. While pretending to be a different character, they develop moral skills like empathy. They learn to consider other people’s perspectives. They will be introduced to balance their ideas with others. Plus express and also listen to thoughts and ideas.
Language and communication skills
Kids learn a new language that they adopt from their parent’s vocabulary. Pretend play provides an opportunity for parents to interact with their young ones. It’s also a way to discuss things in a fun manner. Kids realise the importance of communicating their thoughts to others.
Develops thinking, learning, and problem-solving abilities
Children are presented with scenarios and problems that they solve using their capabilities. In this way, they develop their memory and learn how to cope or change when something doesn’t proceed according to plan in a game. Kids enhance their abstract thinking and learn self-regulation skills.
Nurturing the imagination
Imaginative play allows your child to strengthen flexibility and creativity. Engaging in creative play allows your child to stimulate their imagination. As a result, it increases their creativity. Using their imagination, your child can pretend to be anything and anyone. This often leads to them becoming more confident.
WAYS TO ENCOURAGE IMAGINATIVE PLAY AT HOME
– Gifting your child toys like a kitchen play set for kids will provide them with various pretend play opportunities. Dinner sets, tea sets, cooking sets, and more will help enhance a kid’s cognitive skills. Whether they pretend to be skilled bakers or a parent cook for their kids. A kitchen set can also greatly aid in developing a child’s imagination.
– Building blocks and Lego will encourage your child to create simple and familiar objects. Have these easily accessible to your children. Later on, they’ll use their imagination to pretend that individual blocks are something real like bed, food, animals, etc.
– Create a prop box with themed dramatic play materials that will provide your child with a creative experience. This prop box will open the gates to the imagination for your child. You’ll be surprised to see how the box turns into a flower shop, office, restaurant, shoe store, etc.
ENCOURAGE THEIR INDIVIDUALITY
Every child has a unique way of learning and developing skills. Pretend play allows your child to let their imagination take over. You can always speak to preschool teachers, paediatricians, occupational therapists, and speech pathologists if your child finds it difficult to explore their surroundings. Or if later on, they find it hard to share objects and attention. They will provide you with proper guidance and educate you regarding pretend play and ways to encourage it.