THE BENEFITS OF IMAGINATIVE PLAY
Imaginative play is essentially when children are role playing and are acting out various experiences. It provides opportunities for children to identify with the adult world while encouraging imagination. They are experimenting with decision making on how to behave and are also practising their social skills.
Through pretend play, young children are learning to control their impulses and follow the rules of play; moreover, drawing on their own experiences, children develop an understanding of social norms and strive to act in socially desirable ways.
LEARNING THROUGH PLAY
When children engage in pretend play, they’re actively experimenting with the social roles of life. Imaginative play has the greatest impact on the development of key skills that are important for children’s success with peers. When playing creatively with their friends, your child learns to co-operate and compromise from practising negotiation skills, turn taking and sharing.
It encourages children to participate in social activities and to understand social relationships. Imaginative play encourages children to learn how to interact socially and develop social cues by experimenting with eye contact, using different tones and emotions. Children also learn to have conversations, which they enact by talking to their dolls and action figures and imagining responses. Playing with action figures also helps build self-esteem, as any child can be a hero – just by pretending.
Make believe play involves children recalling pictures they have built up in their mind from past experiences. Whether it is their mum paying for goods at a supermarket or a nurse bandaging their knee at the doctor’s, with imaginary play children recreate these scenes they have built up in their heads and practice solving problems that are often part of these pretend scenarios. In observing, discovering and carrying out deductive reasoning, pretend play is critical for cognitive skills and helping children build the ability to solve problems and draw their own conclusions.
Children can expand their vocabulary and experiment freely with words in their own space and time, without the risk of embarrassment if they use the words incorrectly. By pretend playing with others, children begin to understand that words give them the power to re-enact a story and to organise play.
Children also develop an understanding of what is being communicated through body language such as smiles and nodding.
Imaginative play allows your child to express both positive and negative feelings through the re-enactment of certain experiences. It also helps them to work through difficult emotions and to understand them by taking on roles that encourage discipline and empathy.
Imaginative play fosters mental growth by creating opportunities for trying out new ideas, ways of thinking and problem solving. In pretend-play, children face a variety of problems to solve. Whether it’s two children who want to play the same role, or looking for the right material to use for a play scenario, children will use important thinking skills that they’ll use throughout their lives.
Children express themselves both verbally and non-verbally through physical play. They use all their muscles and senses to achieve this focusing on their gross motor skills.