Posted on March 15 2017
When children are little their imaginations often run wild. As they get older, however, the focus shifts to learning to read, count, and other educational aspects. But playing make-believe is just as important to childhood development and wellbeing as heading to school.
While formal education is important, imaginative play has lots of benefits that not only enjoyable but can be crucial for development. Among the reasons to encourage creative play are:
• Learning about the world – The world can be a terrifying place for children but playing pretend gives them a chance to make sense of everything around them without the risks. It helps them to better understand daily situations and how to react to them.
• Developing social skills – Whether playing with an adult or other children, imaginative play offers plenty of scope for developing social skills that are vital for the adult world, from learning to share and negotiate to simply communicating their ideas.
• Understanding emotions – To children emotions can be complicated and confusing. Having a space where they can re-enact experiences means that they are able to develop emotionally, encouraging areas such as empathy and discipline.
• Improve motor skills – Imaginative play can hugely help with developing motor skills too. From running around as they play an active game with friends to boosting hand eye coordination while acting as a shopkeeper, pretending can help children learn about their physical limits.
• Boost creativity – Even once a child has outgrown imaginative play, the creative skills they build can be invaluable. It’s a starting point for innovation and problem solving, both of which can prove essential skills and characteristics in the future.
Of course, imaginative play doesn’t have to be separate from formal education, it can complement it too. Mixing maths, English, history, science, and many other subjects into play is the perfect way to make it engaging and memorable.
It’s not just children that can benefit from imaginative play either – it’s important for adults too. Whether it’s making up a bedtime story to get your little one off to sleep or playing the role of a dragon in an epic adventure, it’s a wonderful way to build a stronger connection and relationship. Being involved in their make-believe world can give you interesting insights too, such as their fears or what makes them laugh, plus sharing fun activities together will be enjoyable for you as well.
Tags: imaginative play, benefits of imaginative play, children play, childhood development