Updated: Jul 2, 2018
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution." Albert Einstein
Does your child like to dress up as doctor or chefs or fire fighters? Does he/ she take up a stone and make it a helicopter or zoom it to the moon or stars or in my case Pluto? Do they emulate their favourite superheroes? Isnt it fun to watch them when they do such role plays? Mommies do pay attention to your kids when they play as it is an outlet for them and they might be telling something important. This kind of role play aka pretend play helps the kid to be able to express his innermost feelings and apply the situations with different themes and plays.
We adults don’t realise the importance of pretend play and lot of times we devalue the importance of this. But imaginative or pretend play is essential for the child’s development. It may appear to be very simple, but it teaches them complex life skills. With this they are experimenting with decision making and how to behave in a social setting.
So what are the benefits of "Pretend Play"
1. Stimulates Thinking – Pretend play boosts mental growth and encourages cognitive thinking capabilities of a child. It enhances their problem-solving skills and negotiation skills that will help them through their lives.
2. Boosts Creativity – Lil P is super excited to do the role of a chef and serve cookies and tea to everyone. What is really admiring that in this make-believe world of theirs, they try to find multiple use of the same object that would keep them engaged. For e.g. Lil P will find multiple use of the old cardboard from Amazon and he may either use it for colouring or sit on it and use as a boat or rocket to launch himself to Pluto. It is definitely a story that is quite enchanting and captivating.
3. Helps Develop Life Skills – I have said this before that kids develop important life skills in pretend play. Like when lil P plays with his kitchen sink, he learns the basic skills of cooking, cleaning and keeping the plates back gently. When he becomes a chef, he learns the act of taking care of others, laying the table and sharing food with others. Same when he plays doctor doctor he learns empathy and that visiting a doc is not always scary. 4. Getting independent – In this magical world they are the boss and they form the rules that are different from their parents. So, they learn to be more independent. This also helps in finding the right balance between their imaginative world and the real world and in future it would help them to make the choices independently.
5. Enhance language skills – When they are creating stories of superheroes, chefs or cars reaching the stars they are expressing it through words and this helps in developing their language and storytelling capabilities.
As adults we should encourage the kids to soak in the surroundings and because kids learn from experiences and this role play prepares them for the real word challenges and issues.
This does not mean as parents you should spend load of money to buy toys. Its in fact quite easy to keep the toddlers occupied with objects at home. Give them cooking utensils, dishes, food containers, fruits, small steel cups for making tea, laundry baskets and few clothes. Box filled with clothes, scarves, newspaper, books, animals, dolls, locks and keys inspire them to create something new with it. So sit back and let the kids take charge to create something unique or better next time when you see them involved in pretend play just join their magical world to relieve your childhood and get mesmerised!