Playing pretend encourages a child to begin creating worlds where they run the show. Not only does this provide your child with a potential coping tool, but it also develops their emotional skills. Begin uncovering how and why you should encourage play pretend in children. Whether you're creating stories with your child or building a castle out of boxes, cultivate imitative play!
The Benefits of Imagination
When children use their imagination, they have a chance to play without boundaries—they play creatively. Through creativity, they can test out or experience the world around them. For example, kids could play "doctor" and take on different roles as a patient or nurse. Playing pretend also encourages various skills, including:
- Language skills
- Social skills
- Emotional skills
- Thinking skills
How can imagination do all that? Let's unpack this a bit. During pretend play, children often interact with another person and use different objects as symbols. If your child's pretending they're a superhero ready to save the day, a bedsheet becomes the perfect cape. This requires thinking and developing ideas on how to transform one thing into something completely different.
Start nurturing pretend play at home! You could buy your kiddo the cutest toy kitchen, so they and the kitten can do some pretend work to serve you up a delicious plastic pizza. Another option to encourage imaginative play is to buy the right toys.
Don't bring too many toys out at once, though—it presents too many choices. Giving them only a few to choose from helps develop their decision-making skills. Know what your child loves, whether it's action figures or fairy princess toys. Shop at Legacy Toys to transport your child's mind to a far-off land!
Get creative and up your playing game. Think like your child and look around for ideas. Could couch cushions become the walls to the perfect fort? You just bought a toy, but should you splurge on that new board game the kids want? Which would bring them the most joy? Don’t restraint yourself with inside-the-box thinking—instead, think outside it.
Expert Play Tip
Get down on your kid's level, both physically and mentally. For example, if your daughter decides her princess toy will pay a visit to the toy farm, roll with it. Encourage your little one to take charge when you play together so they can develop the world and paint the picture.
Now that you know how and why you should encourage play pretend in children, help your child to begin. When a child uses imagination, they harness many skills. Playing pretend promotes a child to play with others, so when you play together, remind them to take turns. Also, think like a child when you two play together. Legacy Toys sell the perfect toys to spark imagination in your child!