Kids play make-believe because it has fun, but did you know that imaginative play is also a vital component of normal child development and should be encouraged?
Imaginative play, or make-believe as it is sometimes referred to, occurs when a child role-plays experiences of interest, such as playing ‘school’ with their toys. Children may engage in imaginative play alone or with others. There are several benefits that imaginative play contributes to a child’s development.
It fosters creativity by providing a safe space for children to act out scenarios of their choosing, including situations that they may not be able to experience in real life. For example, a 5-year-old who cannot go to a restaurant without her parents can, through imaginative play with her friend, create a pretend tea party they can both enjoy at home. It also gives children opportunities to learn about other people’s perspectives, like what Mummy or Daddy might think when they are playing house.
It promotes physical development in a fun way. Activities such as fitting a doll’s arms through her jacket’s sleeves are great for hand-eye coordination, as is learning to move and control her hands in different ways. Galloping around on pretend horses helps with gross motor development and coordination.
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