Children learn best by doing and imagining. It is proven that when young children use their imaginations in play, they’re more creative, have more self-confidence which helps them to perform better at school and they are more likely to develop strong problem-solving approach to learning. The pretending process builds different skills that are very essential in many developmental areas.
Have you ever noticed your child pick a random stem or branch of a tree and pretend it is a sword? Or take a cloth, place it behind their backs and say they are superheroes? These are all pretend play that they are showing. Your child is actually using an object to represent something else while giving it an action.
Admit it or not, we as adults often under value pretend or imaginative play. Play is actually our children’s way of engaging and making sense of the world. Pretend play may appear to be a very simple activity, yet within it, young children learn daily living skills such as eating, drinking, dressing up, cleaning and many more.
How can my child benefit from pretend play?
- It develops social and emotional skills.Through pretend play, your child will learn how to take turns, share and problem solve. When your child pretends to be different characters, he has the experience of “walking in someone else’s shoes” or develops the skill of empathy. On top of that, your child would know that he/she can be anything he wants to be.
- It develops language and communication skills.Through pretend play, the children can express their thoughts and communicate their feelings. This can increase their vocabulary words as they are exposed to conversations. Sometimes, you would be surprised that they know and use some words at home or in schools. The thing with children is that they are very good in imitating. They can act like mommy, daddy or even teacher paired with actions too. It may sound funny but through pretend play, they can be more expressive and open.
- It develops their thinking skills.Pretend play nurtures mental growth by creating opportunities for trying out new ideas, ways of thinking and problem solving. It provides our children with a variety of problems to solve. Whether choosing who’s going to be the teacher or the pilot, or simply searching for the right object to use as the door for the playhouse. These are all cognitive skills they are using during pretend play.
- It develops physical skills.Every pretend play, children use all the muscles in their bodies to achieve this. From using kitchen play tools to building a roof, or from writing on the blackboard to flying an airplane, all of these activities require physical skills. It develops both fine and motor skills of our children. Exposing them to these activities is very advantageous for their holistic development.