Why Imaginative Play is Vital for Children's Development
Imaginative play is a crucial component of every child's development - but why is that?
Research shows that imaginative play aids in children's overall cognitive development. Here are some ways pretend play contributes to cognitive development in kids:
- It provides opportunities for children to identify with and make sense of the adult world.
- It allows children to create and solve a variety of problems within a variety of pretend scenarios, thus supporting problem-solving skills
- It encourages emotional development, by providing children the opportunity to reenact certain scenarios or feelings that they may still be learning to cope with
- It allows children to work out fears through pretend scenarios
- It builds self-confidence by giving children a sense of control - they can control what scenarios take place during their imaginative play
- Supports social skills - Children can explore a variety of relationships and interactions while pretending
How can You Support and Encourage Imaginative Play?
Choose Simplistic Toys
Research shows that simplistic, open-ended toys encourage greater use of imagination. Rather than a toy with a lot of bells and whistles that "plays the part" for your child, your child's imagination is what brings simplistic toys to life!
You can shop simplistic toys for babies and toddlers that have been specially designed to support imaginative play here
Allow Space To Play
Make sure your child has plenty of designated space to play! Providing a safe play area will ensure that they have the room and the confidence to act out whatever scenarios they'd like.
Set the Scene
Inspire your child's imagination by setting up a scenario or "story" for them to go off of. Build a town, set up a doctors station for stuffed animals, set up dishes and seating for a pretend restaurant - the possibilities are endless!