Imaginative play, also referred to as play pretend or make-believe, is a fun form of play for kiddos. They can pretend to be an astronaut or a knight sent on a quest to slay a dragon. While this type of play is fun for young children and allows them to use their imagination, it is also extremely beneficial for a child’s development.
Home Away From Home is a child care learning center that allows children to play in a variety of ways, including imaginative play. Our child care learning center offers a variety of programs that allows your child to learn and develop in a nurturing and stimulating place. From infant care to our voluntary pre-kindergarten program, we offer a variety of child care programs that you and your kiddo will love! In this blog, we are going to talk about the benefits of imaginary play for kids. Read on to learn more and contact our child care learning center today!
Imaginative play gives your kiddo a chance to practice their language and communication skills in their own safe space. Whether your child is playing with dolls or pretending to be a doctor, they will be able to use and develop their language skills. From having their toys talk to each other to talking to their sibling or friend, they will be practicing and improving these skills without you even realizing it!
While your child may be shy in real life and get nervous when they have to talk to someone, they can learn how to have a conversation through their pretend play. This can help them continue to grow these skills and start to feel more comfortable in real scenarios.
Imaginative play also allows your kiddo to expand and practice their vocabulary without feeling embarrassed that they might get something wrong. They will be able to try new words in their own space and practice freely.
Pretend play can also help your child begin to understand the power of language and how they can use it to create, communicate, and tell stories. When your child has a safe place to play and use language freely, they will be able to practice and develop these skills.
Your child will also be able to work on their social skills when they engage in playing pretend. Whether your child is playing alone or with a sibling or friend, they can practice different social skills. However, playing with others is a great way for them to practice social skills and get experience in social situations.
While communication can be considered a language skill or social skill, this is one skill that they will continue to practice through imaginative play. But your kiddo will also be able to practice different social interactions and develop skills that involve social cues.
While engaging in pretend play, your child will also be able to use different tones, emotions, better understand social relationships, and more. Pretend play is a great way for them to practice and develop their social skills.
Engaging in pretend play can also help your child develop problem-solving skills. Your kiddo will likely create scenarios in which there is a problem that needs to be solved. As they play, they will work through the problem. If they are playing with multiple people or toys, they are likely to come up with different solutions to their made-up problems, which can help them develop problem-solving skills.
This is also a great way for your child to work through their own problems. If they play out the situation, they can discover different ways for them to react and how to solve the issue they are facing.
Playing pretend will also give your child the opportunity to develop emotional skills. When they play, they can put themselves in other people’s shoes, which gives them a different perspective and allows them to develop empathy. Your kiddo will also be able to develop emotional skills while they work on their problem-solving skills since they will be able to start realizing that the two are connected.
During their imaginative playtime, your kiddo will also be able to experience and practice how to deal with both positive and negative emotions. This is a great way for them to better understand their own emotions as well as the emotions of others. With pretend play, children are able to work through their own emotions in a safe space.
When kiddos engage in imaginative play, they are practicing and developing their creative skills. Creativity is a learned skill and when children are able to practice it through imaginative play, they can continue to improve this skill. Creativity is an important thing for children to learn and can be beneficial for a number of different reasons, including boosting problem-solving skills.
When your child turns a cardboard box into a spaceship or pretends to be a dinosaur, they are developing their creative thinking skills. Creativity allows your child to create and discover, it is an important tool that can keep them interested and entertained, and as they grow older, it can become extremely useful in a number of different scenarios.
Along with these awesome developmental benefits, imaginative play can provide your child with additional benefits. Imaginative play can also benefit your kiddo by:
- Lowering anxiety
- Improving academic skills
- Boosting fine and gross motor skills
- Encouraging physical development
- Improving concentration and focus
- Decreasing disruptive behaviors
- And more
Imaginative play may seem like a simple and fun way to keep your kiddos entertained, but it is also providing them with a variety of different benefits and helping them develop new skills.
How to Encourage Imaginative Play
Now that you know the benefits that imaginative play can provide, let’s talk about how you can encourage imaginative play in your kiddos. To start, you will need to give them the space to play freely. If you don’t want them running around throughout the whole house, create a playroom where they can engage in imaginative play.
You will also want to provide them with toys, props, and other goodies for them to play with — this could include anything from dolls and action figures to dress-up clothes to building blocks and more. Toys that don’t have a singular purpose are the ideal toys for imaginative play, since they will give your kiddos a chance to create different ways to use them. However, you truly don’t need to invest in a ton of toys. Give your kiddos a cardboard box, markers, and other craft supplies and let them create!
Be sure to show interest in what your child is doing and the stories or scenarios they come up with. This will help keep them excited and engaged in their playtime. This reinforcement will allow them to feel secure in their pretend play and continue to want to play freely.
Don’t try to tell your kiddos what to do or how to play. Allow them to take control of their playtime and encourage it. If your child is having a hard time figuring out what type of scenario they want to engage in, you can give them some ideas or create a scenario and then let them run with it.
Be sure to play with your child too, especially if they ask you to join them. Even if it is only for a couple of minutes. This will give you and your child time to bond and provide them with additional benefits. It can help them feel as though what they are doing is important enough for your time, which can make them want to play more. Plus, you might have a great time pretending to be a pirate with your child. When was the last time you played pretend? Engaging in imaginative play with your kiddo may help spark your creative side as well!
There are many benefits to imaginative play. Your child can practice and develop a variety of different skills that will help them now and throughout the future. Plus, it will keep them away from the TV and other screens, which may seem like a challenge in today’s world. Encourage pretend play and allow your child to play freely for a while each day. It will be very beneficial for them.
If you are looking for a child care learning center that can help your child learn and develop, be sure to check out Home Away From Home today! We have locations in Pembroke Pines and Jensen Beach. Contact us today to learn more!