If you have watched your kid keenly of late, you must have noticed that he sometimes converts the gift box into some sort of toy car or spaceship. Or it could be that he plays with the TV remote control across the table. You should not be mad at your kid when he does such things.
This type of play is what is called an imaginative play. It involves the use of an object as a representation of something else. The play does not have to involve an objective to qualify as an imaginative play. Even role play is classified as a way of pretend play.
It may seem like simple activities when kids go about roleplay, but it imparts real-life skills and many more benefits to the kids involved. But then, what are the benefits of imaginative play?
To give you some peace of mind and widen the scope of your child’s play, I will be answering this concern that has been troubling you for a while.
1. Imaginary Play Enhances Social Development
During playtime, your children build out trains, act as knights at the round table and play with their princesses and dragons. These plays give them space and opportunity to play together. As children play together with their toys, they develop and grow socially as they can collaborate with one another.
A classic example is the common tea set party where children imagine themselves as family members. They take turns in preparing and then serving the tea to the others. Learning to take turns, imparts a critical social skill of being able to compromise when with others.The children also learn to engage in conversations by talking to their action figures and dolls. In the process, they then imagine the responses. Additionally, the kids learn to say “thank you” and “you are welcome” which are social cues that you would be proud of in your little one.
2. Imaginative Play Aids In Language Development
Imaginative play gives young ones an opportunity to experiment on their vocabulary without any interference from anyone. In such an environment, kids are able to freely express themselves in words without feeling embarrassed for using any word incorrectly.
Pretend playing also gives kids an opportunity to tell stories and organise plays in their own words. They, therefore, expand their vocabulary knowledge as they tell different stories each time and engage in imaginary plays with their dolls and action figures.
I always love hearing my children use the words their teachers and I often use while with them as they pretend with their imaginary friends from another planet. As they verbally express their ideas with siblings and friends, kids also learn to communicate and listen to one another.
3. Pretend Play Leads To Emotional Development
Imaginative play creates a play scenario where a kid learns to walk in someone else’s shoes. The child learns to see the world from another perspective that is not their own. This ability is essential in enabling kids to understand each other’s feelings and healthily express their own during play.
Think of it this way, as kids play, they have to agree on certain roles and put down some rules to govern the play. To make this possible, they must learn that so and so is different in her way. It is this mutual understanding that roots out selfishness (which is normal) while the kids play together.A better way of explaining the emotional development is through the “theory of mind.” It is through this principle that imaginative play allows children to be aware of other people’s thoughts, feelings and views. And these views and feelings do not have to be same to theirs.
4. It Spurs Imagination And Creativity
Just as Albert Einstein correctly puts it, “Logic gets you from point A to Z, imagination will get you everywhere.” Pretend play gives children the freedom to go everywhere. I always lose count of the number of roles my children always take as they play. Today they do this, tomorrow they do something else.
By being able to dream up any storylines and transform into anyone or anything your kid feels like, she gets her creativity stretched to the maximum. Other types of plays confine her creativity to the limits of the games abilities, but not in imaginative play.If it is two kids scrambling for the same role, they find a creative way of involving all of them. On some occasions, they miss a material to use for let us say the bed for the doll. The girls would then use their wits to figure out the solution for this problem.
5. Imparts Self Confidence And Self Expression
Children get an unimaginable amount of thrill when they pretend to be adults. And just not any adult, they go crazy as they mimic their favourite superheroes. It could be Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Batman and any other superhero he/she likes. When dressed in that suit, your child feels pretty powerful and invincible.
It is this powerful feeling that makes your little superhero capable of tackling just about anything life throws at him. This feel-good factor is what builds anyone’s self-confidence. Additionally, as kids play, they express their dislikes and likes freely.
By being able to express their needs, you as the parent will then be able to tend to such needs comfortably. Self-expression acts as a form of play therapy where children freely talk about the difficulties they face in life.
Therefore, always pay close attention to your child as she plays. You might learn one or two things about her. You may even start playing with your baby so that you can get to know her better at an early age. Playing together with your kids may give you a better opportunity to practice better parenting skills.
6. Children Learn To Plan And Stay Organized
If your daughter has ever invited you to the endless tea parties in the evening, then you know how it takes her quite some time to work everything out.
To you, it might seem like something she puts up in just minutes. However, to her, it takes careful planning and figuring to make it a success. This planning is what imaginative play is all about. Every scenario is organised and planned in a specific way to meet her specific needs.
It is always a pleasure watching the kids organise their playing toys to fit their imaginary world after school. The frustrations that show on their faces when an aspect seems not to fit is always priceless.
As for plays, the set has to be thought out before she can start reciting the lines. These abilities to organise and plan for a play is what makes them grow into responsible adults that you would love.
7. It Teaches Kids Independence And Life Skills
Pretend play teaches kids to create a world that is separate from that in which we parents are. This imaginary world allows them to be independent for a while. Continued playing makes them comfortable when left to themselves, as the games keep them entertained.
When your daughter is pretending to be a mom, she learns important life skills that enable her to take care of herself. She ties her doll’s shoes, sets tables, washes dishes and cares for others.
Playing as a doctor is also good. He becomes empathetic towards others and learns to be of service to those surrounding him.
Imaginative play allows your child to “go to a lot of places and become a lot of things.” There is always no limit to where the kid’s minds can take them. With this in mind, whenever you see the little getting into role play mode, encourage him and provide the necessary environment that she can express herself freely.