Pretend play, also known as imaginative play, is a type of play where your child pretends to be someone or something else. It could be their favourite cartoon character, real or imaginary. They could also mimic someone who is close to them like a parent, teacher, friend or doctor. What important is that your child is using their imagination unlimitedly.
Pretend play encourages creativity while enhancing emotional, social, and language skills. Through pretend play too, your child will learn to express themselves and build positive relationships.
Benefits of pretend play
1. Foster imagination and creativity
Pretend play builds your child's ability for flexibility and creativity to roam freely. Try adding some toy blocks to their play area and see their imagination run wild. It also helps to teach your child to think for themselves which is an important skill to apply later on. And a good imagination helps your child to understand another point of view.
2. Social and emotional development
As your child pretends to be someone or something else, they are practicing different social and emotional roles in life. And this could help enhance your child's self-esteem and self-awareness. In a social setting or when involved in a group activity, your child will be able to recognise and respond to others' feelings easily.
3. Enhance language and communication skills
Pretend play is all about communication as your child will love to describe and narrate what's happening. This conversation improves their vocabulary and language skills and helps reduce anxiety as the language becomes more familiar.
4. Improve learning, thinking, and problem-solving skills
Excellent problem-solving skills require creativity. By nature of pretend play, your child is presented with various problems or scenarios to solve or plan - from negotiating who gets to play what role to reenacting real-life situations. It also promotes abstract thinking when an object/person takes on a different meaning.
5. Encourage independence
Pretend play lets your child create their own stories and narratives, explore new ideas, and set their own rules. As your child connects with their surrounding, they will begin to incorporate what they have learnt into their pretend play, which gives them the freedom to take risks and become a critical thinker.
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