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How Children Use Imagination During Play

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Starting at a young age, children partake in imaginative play, which is make-believe or pretend play. A few examples of this is when children pretend to be an animal or their favorite superhero. They might even imitate a real-life person they know such as their pediatrician or parent.

Whether they are building forts in the living room with sheets and pillows, hosting a tea party with stuffed animals, playing restaurant or even making a rocket out of a cardboard box, children are using their imagination often while they play. There are no rules and sky’s the limit on how they’ll use their imagination playing solo or with other children.

The Benefits of Imaginative Play for Children

Believe it or not, imaginative play is more than just about having fun. It is actually crucial for children’s overall development. Play like this can prepare children for everyday life by regulating how the body responds to stress. It also promotes creativity while developing social, emotional, and language skills. Essentially, children will learn to express themselves through pretend play and build positive relationships in the process. There are many benefits of imaginative play, which we will discuss further.

1. Boosts Creativity

Did you know that creativity is key to your child’s well-being? Implementing pretend play lets your child stimulate their imagination, which boosts their creativity. With a good imagination, your child can pretend to be anything or anyone they want with what you have at home. Encouraging their imaginations will make them more content and more likely to become healthy and confident adults.

2. Problem-Solving Skill Development 

Creativity and problem-solving skills go hand and hand. In order for children to figure things out on their own, they just need time and space. Problem-solving skills are developed through imaginative play when it comes to negotiating who gets to play what role to re-enacting real-life situations. Role-play activities for preschoolers is another great opportunity for them to solve problems. Cognitive development is fostered as they creatively solve problems.

3. Social Development

While developing social skills can be difficult for some adults, children naturally relate and connect with others when they play. Kids learn to take turns and work together when they  interact with others. That is why playdates are so important. As your child engages in imaginary play, they start to understand relationships and therefore improve their social skills and become more connected and self-reliant.

4. Emotional Development

Imaginative play also fosters emotional development. It is during make-believe play that your child practices showing empathy for others. A great example is when they pretend to be a doctor because they learn how to be gentle and to help others. In the process of your child starting to understand their own feelings and emotions, they in turn learn how to interact the proper way.

5. Language Development

There has been quite some research that confirms the correlation between imaginative play in early childhood language development. If you observe your child at play, you’ll quickly notice how well they narrate what they are doing. What they communicate enhances their vocabulary and language skills. Ultimately, you can further enhance your child’s language skills by providing a supportive play environment.

6. Encourages Independence

Imaginative play gives your child the freedom to create stories, explore new ideas, and make up their own rules. Children certainly begin incorporating what they have learned into their dramatic play as they connect with the world around them. This sort of play also encourages freedom to take chances. That’s actually a good thing for gaining their independence and becoming critical thinkers.

Final Thoughts 

Imaginative play lets your child express their creativity, supports their problem solving skills, independence and strengthens their language, social and emotional skills. The great part about it is that it takes little effort on your part, and it is just something that comes naturally to children. It is why so many fictional books are inspired by the imagination of children. If possible, let your inner child come out and use your imagination when playing with your children. To learn about more fun ways children use their imagination, be sure to visit The Learning Experience’s Bubbles and Friends YouTube channel.

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