While technology is a good thing, we can rely on it too much, and children can become overly reliant on the worlds that they construct online. However, this doesn’t mean that traditional imaginary play with costumes and action figures is over, in fact, it means that children need this type of play now more than ever.
Benefits of Imaginary Play
Imaginary play not only stimulates your child’s mental development by encouraging them to use their imagination, but it also opens them up to new possibilities, unlocking the door to a new world completely reliant on interactions with other children. This improves their language skills by reflecting who they are trying to be, or what story they are trying to tell. It can work on their emotional and social skills, especially when it comes to communicating with their playmates, and it can even improve their logistical thinking skills as they work out how to solve problems within their own narrative. Also, as an added bonus, allowing children to play in this way can help them work out emotional issues, as it allows them to work through different and sometimes challenging emotions, such as anger, fear and sadness.
Imaginary Play is so Versatile
Children are naturally imaginative, and because of this, anything can be used as a prop for imaginary play, from a wooden spoon that transforms into a microphone or a sword, to a towel that becomes a superhero cape, to a simple cardboard box that can become, well, absolutely anything, really! The key thing about imaginary play is to let a child’s imagination run wild, and allows them to explore different props, create new scenarios and involve other children, which will help them develop those burgeoning social and verbal skills.
Because there is no limit to a child’s imagination (or an adults, for that matter) you can get involved too, by taking part in their playtime. For example, you can prompt them by asking them questions and listening to them as they play, such as when they show you a picture, don’t just compliment it, ask them to explain to you what’s happening in the picture, is there anyone in the picture that they know? If so, what are they doing? Are they having fun? Pretending like this not only open the door to their imagination, but also allows you toddler to try new things, different scenarios, work out problems, but it can also keep you in tune with what your child is feeling, which is a wonderful gift.
So, next time your child is playing, why not give them a prop, like an action figure, or a household item and see where their imagination takes you?
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