Imaginative play is a crucial part of learning for kids. Your child is constantly watching you doing everyday mundane tasks, but to them, they are not boring jobs.
To them, you are doing amazing and complicated activities. They want to learn how to be as amazing as you and this is where the benefits of imaginative play begin. Read this to understand why pretend play for preschoolers is so important!
How imaginative play improves child skills
Role play helps children of all ages improve skills they need later in life. Here are some of the ways creative play can benefit your child:
• Encourages imagination
The ability to be creative and make up scenarios that can be acted out allows children to be original. It also permits them to express themselves in a way they feel comfortable whilst letting their imagination to progress.
• Social skills
When playing in a group environment, pretend play encourages team work and cooperative behaviour. This is important for their basic social skills to develop and encourage flexibility with ideas.
Imaginative play is relevant to social skills because when playing with others, not everything is going to happen the way your child expects or wants it to. This allows your child to problem solve and consider other possibilities to achieve a solution. This is often how they develop the skill to improvise!
• Inspires them
Playing gives kids the ability to be whatever they want to be. They can be a fireman, astronaut, mum or dad, shopkeeper and absolutely anything else that makes them happy! This joy and imagination stimulates their senses and encourages them to further explore possibilities that they previously hadn’t considered.
• Language skills
Pretend play offers children the ability to improve their language skills by talking, listening and sharing their emotions. This is so important to the development of a child because it is something they will continue to use for the rest of their life!
Pretend play activities for toddlers and preschoolers
Children learn a great deal by simply watching how people around them interact. By mimicking common scenes they witness at home, they are enhancing their cognitive skills and developing behaviour that is appropriate later in life. While imaginative play is something children will learn to do on their own, you can certainly do things to further their interests. Many of which require minimal effort on your behalf!
• Designate room
Not everyone has space to assign an entire room to pretend play but most can reserve at least a corner. When possible, this is a great idea because it gives your child the space they need to pretend and role play. By filling ‘their area’ with old containers, a bench or table with a sheet over it, boxes, old phones and even dress-ups; it is ready for creativity.
The items in this area do not have to be new or costly! Your child will decide whether it is a kitchen, space station, shop, etc. and will ultimately make it whatever they want.
• Let your child help
If you have a new baby in the family, let your child help with the parenting jobs. For example: if you are changing a nappy, let them also change their babies (aka doll) nappy or feed it when it is hungry. They want to be involved and are learning each and every time they pretend to be like you!
When you are doing the washing, vacuuming, making lunches, gardening, etc. – LET THEM HELP!
• Play with them
If your child wants to play doctors, be the patient. If having tea parties, drink the tea. Place your order and let them bring you your food. Let them be the mail lady. Whatever the situation is – ENCOURAGE IT and BE EXCITED with them!
Childhood is full of learning and development. There are so many options that allow kids to learn while having fun; you just have to look around. It is critical to a child’s progress that they are encouraged every day; so make imaginative play for preschoolers important to you too.
How do you encourage imaginative play for preschoolers and toddlers in your home?
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