If you are bringing up a small child and are unsure what the best method of teaching them is, there has been a lot of interesting advice and studies about this recently. Many of them agree, that there are benefits to encouraging imaginative play amongst children. It can help them to develop more creative minds and stronger problem-solving skills, as well as help them to progress and have more success through school.
This is all merely the tip of the iceberg, as we show in this article, by looking at some great benefits your baby or toddler can experience from imaginative play.
When play involves your child using his or her imagination, it helps them to grow mentally as it presents opportunities where they can try completely new solutions to problems, alternative ways of thinking and just new ideas in general. During play sessions involving pretending, your child will face problems they have to solve. For example, they may be playing with their sibling or a friend and both want to play the same role or character. The way they choose to solve the problem will help them develop their thinking ability and that will stay with them for most of their lives.
When children are playing using their imagination, they are expressing themselves both non-verbally and verbally. All of their senses and muscles are engaged to achieve this, and they often use items such as playdough, paintbrushes, scissors and crayons which foster key functions such as hand-to-eye co-ordination and motor skills.
When they are playing pretend, your child has the chance to express their feelings, both negative and positive ones. This will encourage and enable him or her to work through any difficult feelings and emotions they may be experiencing and their understanding of why they are feeling them.
During imaginative play, children have the freedom to add to their regular vocabulary and try using words they haven’t before. It means that any embarrassment from using a new word incorrectly, can be removed and enables them to learn from their mistakes. when they pretend during play with others, it teaches them the important fact that sometimes knowing the words makes things happen and that they can better organize their play sessions.
There you have it, clear evidence that imaginative play is a powerful way of inculcating into your child important skills and knowledge that will serve them well throughout their life.
Develop Social Skills
The social roles in life are actively experimented with when children play using their imagination. According to the researcher and lecturer in child development, Dr Catherine Nielsen-Hewett, imagination-based play is one that tends to have the biggest impact on how well children develop key social skills. During this type of play, particularly with their friends, they learn about compromise and co-operation. It also encourages them to take part in more social activities and understand various social friendships and relationships.