Little Dreamers – Play Time
Shopkeeper? Cashier? Handyman? Host a tea party? In this area of ‘Imaginative Play’ your child can be whoever they want to be! This form of pretend play is more than just entertaining; it promotes social skills, encourages intellectual aptitude, develops language and communication skills, supports emotional development, and even builds self-confidence.
Promotes social skills
Pretend play gives children the chance to explore social roles and develop new ways to interact. They are able to practice sharing, taking turns, listening to others and negotiating. For example, when a child pretends to be a shopkeeper, the child is exposed to dealing with the customer, or a princess learns how to negotiate her rule over those in her kingdom without causing a rebellion or the loss of playmates.
Encourages intellectual aptitude
Imaginative play is the foundation of abstract thought. When a child pretends to be camping in their living room with a blanket thrown between two chairs, they are learning to think symbolically. Abstract thought is especially essential in school for understanding the symbolic nature of letters, numbers, sounds and so on. For example, learning to use numbers to show how many apples is an exercise in using symbols to display an amount.
Develops language and communication skills
Pretend play can sometimes be quite imaginative, and will often require the children to explain the scenarios such as where the dragon lives, what planets the astronauts will visit, or who will be the restaurant customer and who will be the server. The act of explaining and clarifying one’s ideas, promotes the growth of vocabulary and communication skills.
Because a young child is not able to control much in his/her day-to-day life, taking on an adult role, such as a carpenter, mail carrier or astronaut can be very empowering. When children develop confidence in their abilities and their potential, they can become more determined and persistent when introduced to new skills that they are expected to master.
Supports emotional development
Role-playing gives children the opportunity to explore their feelings. When children pretend to encounter and conquer a monster in the closet, they gain a sense of control over the situation. The monster in their mind (and closet) can lose some of its frightening power. Pretending to be a veterinarian caring for sick animals can help a child examine and practice empathy. Imaginative play can also help children explore some of the more confusing feeling they experience, such as jealousy, anger or frustration.
"You can discover more about a person in one hour of play than in a year of conversation."− Plato
"Once I'm done with kindergarten, I'm going to find me a wife."− Tommy (age 5)
"Life is more fun if you play games."− Roald Dahl, My Uncle Oswald
"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try."− Dr. Seuss