Tuesday, April 12th, 2022
When you see children playing, you probably think they're having fun and just being kids. But there's a lot more going on during playtime than just having a good time. Children are also learning a lot, which is one of several benefits of pretend play for kids.
When children engage in pretend play, they develop problem-solving skills and improve physical development and communication skills. Pretend play also helps children build social and emotional awareness.
Playing encourages kids to use their imaginations and interact with others. When children create pretend scenarios, adventures, and missions, they embark on a creative journey of learning and development. There's a reason noted theorist and psychologist Jean Piaget affirmed that, "a child's work is play."
Pretend play can come in many forms. For example, younger children (around two-years-old) typically engage more in parallel play. They play alongside each other. But as kids get older, they start to engage in more cooperative play. Both styles have many benefits, but we'll concentrate more on cooperative play here.
Here's a closer look at four benefits of pretend play for kids and why they're so important.
1. Play Helps Kids Develop Problem-Solving AbilitiesComing up with solutions to challenges, even make-believe ones, teaches children valuable problem-solving skills. When they play, kids use their imaginations and creativity. This helps them become more flexible in their way of thinking, which also helps make them better problem solvers.
2. Engaging in Pretend Play Helps with Physical DevelopmentTo a kid, they're having an epic pirate battle or exploring a mysterious planet or deep-sea diving. But these fun pretend situations also mean kids are moving their bodies in various ways and testing themselves. As kids run, jump, squat, twirl, crawl, and more, they develop gross motor skills. All of these things lead to improved muscle strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility. Plus, it helps kids get exercise; another essential factor in healthy development.
3. Playing Pretend Builds Social and Emotional AwarenessBeing able to play solo is important, but playing with others is also vital to the development of the whole child. When children play together, they learn to take turns, share, win and lose gracefully, cooperate, and compromise. Kids also learn how their actions affect others. They develop empathy as they roleplay and start to insert various emotions into their pretend situations.
4. Kids Learn Communication Skills Through PlayOf course, when kids play together they typically talk to each other. They use language to lay out the rules of a game, tell a story, and add dialogue to their pretend adventures. They can also develop other forms of communication skills, such as gestures, body language, and facial expressions. The biggest takeaway is kids start to become better communicators, learning how to articulate themselves and building their vocabularies.
The world of play is a magical one, and kids learn so much through all sorts of play activities. Finding things your child enjoys to do can help them develop essential skills to last a lifetime.