Carefully tending to a child’s creative spirit plus infusing a sense of PLAYfulness to their learning, is the best guarantee to insure that child will thrive. Creativity and PLAYfulness come together naturally in pretend play.
What is Pretend PLAY?
• Pretend PLAY in kidlets emerges around 2 to 3 years of age. Children naturally imitate. Family life, school and/or daycare all can inspire their PLAY, which, of course, means learning. Their play results from a combination of drive and imitation. Their own deep, inner drive to grow and learn coupled with their imitation of the adults and other children in their environment.
• Pretend PLAY, or make-believe PLAY, encompasses the acting out of stories. These stories can involve multiple perspectives and manipulations of ideas and emotions.
————————–Its importance cannot be overstated!
• In pretend PLAY, kidlets aren’t just living in what many adults would call a fantasy world, instead most of their PLAY has deep roots in reality. Engaging in pretend PLAY offers children a chance to practice social situations, adult roles and even PLAY out fears and anxiety in a safe place and in a safe way.
• With pretend PLAY, children can try out new roles and possible situations or settings. In pretend PLAY, children experiment with language and emotions, relationships and/or problem solving. This ability to ‘live in another world’ shows an advance in cognitive processing rather than being disconnected or distracted.
Pretend play helps children move from concrete thinking to more abstract thinking. It helps children think outside the box; learn to create beyond the here and now; stretch their imaginations, use new words and word combinations all in a risk-free environment.
In our technological society, the ability to think outside the box is a hallmark of creativity. This ability leads to innovation and invention, characteristics that are highly valued and valuable. pretend PLAY helps children think outside the box!
As noted above, pretend PLAY allows children to deal with their emotions, both positive and negative. This gives them an acceptable way to reduce aggression, developing politeness and empathy, which leads to self-regulating their behavior.
As children role-PLAY, they are given time to practice, practice, practice social skills. For example, communication and not just talking! Talking, plus listening and hearing what others are saying. Also observing what others are feeling, which helps them to develop empathy. According to Professor Karen Hutchinson of Rowan University, “PLAY is actually the work of a child in which they are preparing themselves for adult roles and for society at large.”
Pretend PLAY gives children ample opportunity to ‘try on’ many different roles, explore and learn, collaborate with others, and navigate friendships.
Sometimes children have imaginary friends. This occurred at preschool. In fact, once a little girl even adopted a new persona and insisted on being called by another name! Imaginary friends can be a little unsettling for some adults and, perhaps, you might even wonder whether it’s good or not. Don’t worry! It turns out that children who have imaginary friends show a higher level of creativity. Additionally, adults who recalled having an imaginary friend as a child out-performed those who didn’t on creativity tests. BTW, the preschool kidlet that became another ‘girl’; well that that phase lasted just a handful of weeks. She then went back to her given name, giving us teachers a look like we were crazy for having ever called her anything else!
“Imaginative PLAY fosters creativity and helps children explore the world,” says child psychologist David Elkind, Ph.D., author of The Power of Play, The Hurried Child, and Miseducation as well as many other books on children’s well-being and parenting. Dr Elkind continues, “Imaginations and creativity are like muscles: If you don’t use them you lose them.”
So promote and support pretend PLAY! It is feeds your kidlet’s imagination and individuality. It benefits all areas of child development. Pretend PLAY does all that while being self-motivated, natural, and FUN!
If you’re unsure how to begin read 14 Ways to Get Your Child’s Imagination Flowing.
Let me know how your kidlet likes to make-believe!
Yours in PLAY!