Superheroes, dinosaurs, princesses, and pirates - just some of the many characters that shaped our childhoods during our endless hours of playtime. Our imagination was boundless, and through pretend play, we were able to explore new worlds and ideas that captured our curiosity. As children, we loved to be immersed in the world of make-believe, and why wouldn’t we? Letting our imagination run wild was and still is one of the greatest joys in life. But, let’s face it, it was so much better as a child. Whether you were playing house, school, or cops and robbers, you were able to explore new ideas and experiment with different roles in life. Pretend play benefited us far beyond our imagination. It was not only a way for us to learn more about ourselves, but also the world around us. So, why is pretend play important? In this blog post, we will explore five benefits of pretend play that can help your child in their development. From gaining new social skills to improving cognitive function, here’s what comes with letting your child engage in some good old-fashioned playtime.
5 Benefits of Pretend Play
#01: Pretend Play Encourages Creativity and Imagination
New fantasies and worlds are created, developed, tested, and re-created every single day by children. Allowing children to have uninterrupted time for play is vital in developing their creativity. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, “Creativity is a process that results in the production of something new and useful.” What does this mean for your child?
Well, since pretend play allows them to experiment with different roles and scenarios, they are able to exercise their creativity in a variety of ways. For example, they might develop new stories, songs, or games while playing. But, regardless of what they create, they must be given the opportunity and freedom to do so.
Hint: If you want your child to be more creative, try not to give them too many instructions when they are playing. Instead, let them explore and figure out things on their own. This will encourage them to be more imaginative, inventive, and creative.
#02: Pretend Play Promotes Problem Solving
Pretend play is also one of the best ways for children to learn problem-solving skills. As they figure out how to make their pretend world more realistic, they actually strengthen their ability to solve problems. Playtime can help children make sense of their world and learn how to prepare for the future. While your child is playing, you might notice them coming up with a solution to a problem that they have created. They may also find new and creative solutions to issues that simply can’t be solved in real life. For instance, if your child is pretending to be an astronaut on the moon who wants to fly back home but has no jetpack, they will figure out a way to solve this problem.
Hint: Allow your child the time and space to work through problems independently. Remember, there is really no right or wrong answer during playtime - only solutions that can help children learn more about themselves and others around them.
#03: Pretend Play Helps Children Develop Social Skills
Pretend play allows children to practice social skills in a safe environment. While playing, yourchild might be taking on the role of a teacher (or even student), parent, or friend. These roles allow them to develop critical social skills - such as communication and cooperation - that they will then apply in real-life situations. As children play, they also learn how to interact with others. They comprehend sharing, taking turns, and negotiating. They have to think about how their actions will affect other characters in the game. This helps them learn how to take others into account, and develop empathy for others. All of these skills are essential for healthy social development.
#04: Pretend Play Stimulates Language Development
Children who engage in pretend play have better language skills than those who do not. This is because they constantly interact with one another while playing, which helps them develop their verbal communication. When children communicate with each other during pretend play, they learn how to use words like “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me.” They also learn how to ask questions like:
● Can I play with you?
● Do you want to be a princess today?
● Do you have any cookies left for me?
● What do you think about this?
Hint: If your child is shy, encourage them to make eye contact with others and speak softly so that they will feel comfortable talking during playtime. It’s also crucial for parents to remember not to interrupt their children when they are playing. Letting kids take the lead in their playtime will help them build confidence and develop social skills.
#05 - Overcome Challenges and Fears
Last but not least, as children use their imagination during playtime, they can also learn how to overcome fears and challenges. By using their vision to create new scenarios in which they are more confident, your little one will understand how to deal with their fears and challenges in a safe environment.
For example, if your child is afraid of heights and you want to take them on a hiking trip with their friends this summer, playing pretend could help ease their anxiety. Role-playing scenes where they climb high mountains safely will make them feel better about participating in the outing. This is because they can use their imagination to experiment with different scenarios and find a solution that makes them feel comfortable.
Hint: If your child is struggling with a fear or challenge, try pretending along with them. This will help them feel more supported and encouraged during playtime.
The Bottom Line
Playing pretend is a great way for children to learn essential life skills. It stimulates their creativity, imagination, and really transports them into their own world. It also helps them develop socially and emotionally by teaching them how to interact with others, negotiate rules of playtime, and work through problems independently as well as cooperatively. If you’re looking for some fun ideas for pretend play at home, Avocatt has toys explicitly designed with these benefits in mind. Our imaginary play collection includes only the squishiest, softest toys that promote imaginative fun and engage kids in a safe way!
Here are some of our best sellers for pretend play:
The benefits of pretend play are endless! What’s your child’s favorite game?