If you are a parent, you have probably noticed your child acting out a scenario they have seen in real life while adding their own fantasy elements.
You may see your little one discard their new toys in favor of the cardboard box they came in, as the box has way more potential for fun in their eyes. You may see them pretend to host a tea party or chase bad guys in a toy car chase.
These are all examples of imaginative play.
Imaginative play is any type of play your child engages in that allows them to use their imagination to role play things they have seen and done or would like to experience in the future.
It is an unstructured, open ended type of play that can take them in any direction they choose.
Why is Imaginative Play Important?
Imaginative play is very important to a child’s well-being.
Even though it seems as if a child’s responsibilities are minimal as compared to an adult’s, children can get stressed too. They must deal with homework, relationships with their friends and families, extracurricular activities and more. Imaginative play gives them a great way to escape and take a break from the real world.
Beyond that, imaginative play improves social and language skills and boosts creativity and problem solving. It is also a great way to keep kids active and occupied.
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How Imaginative Play Helps Development
Imaginative play plays a key role in your child’s development as far as their creativity and their social and cognitive skills. Here are some ways it can be beneficial.
How Imaginative Play Encourages Creativity: When children engage in imaginative play, it is up to them to create scenarios and utilize objects in out-of-the-box applications. Engaging in this type of thinking at an early age has been linked to a high level of creativity in adulthood.
How Imaginative Play Supports Social Development: Imaginative play encourages a child to take on the social and emotional roles that emulate people in real life. It prepares them with the socialization skills they will need in adulthood and provides them with a sense of empathy that can be valuable in helping them build strong relationships.
How Imaginative Play Supports Cognitive Development: While engaging in imaginative play, children will get opportunities to try out new ideas. They may have to figure out how to turn a cardboard box into a castle or how to turn a toy car into a limousine. These are all situations that will help them develop their problem-solving skills.
So, the next time you see your child sitting in front of the TV, encourage them to become involved in imaginative play by cooking a pretend meal, playing superheroes or even allowing them to help you clean the house.
These are all great ways to develop their minds and it will result in some valuable bonding time for you both. It’s a productive and meaningful way for you to spend your day.
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