Aside from proper nourishment and enough sleep, play is one of the most important needs of a child. Play is not done for entertainment alone. Instead, play is essential in helping your child explore and understand the world around them. This means that one of your primary roles as a parent is making sure your baby gets enough playtime!
There are a lot of simple activities that you can do with your newborn baby. During the early months, your baby’s idea of playtime will be touching and feeling, recognizing facial expressions — things that stimulate their senses.
Encourage your baby to play more by surrounding them with things that capture their attention. Don’t forget to be there as their constant companion because you are your baby’s favorite playmate!
But as your child grows up, their idea of playtime will also differ. When your baby becomes a toddler, playtime becomes more active and more animated. One such activity is pretend play.
What is pretend play?
Basically, pretend play is a form of play where children fulfill roles. With a dash of imagination and a dose of creativity, children use kid-friendly objects to represent “real-life” objects to support the role-playing.
For example, you may observe your toddler using a pair of headphones and pretend they were a real stethoscope. In lieu of real patients, their teddy bears and plush toys are the ones that sit in your child’s make-believe waiting room.
Little children who are engaged in pretend play are adorable to watch, but what else does pretend play do? It’s good to know that pretend play is not only cute but also significantly beneficial for your child’s growth and development.
5 Important Benefits of Pretend Play
1. It nurtures your child’s creativity and imagination.
A little child does not need a lot of toys — all they need is some imagination! With pretend play, a large empty box can instantly become an office or a store, a pair of chopsticks can become drumsticks, and a cotton baby blanket can become a fort. Anything can happen during pretend playtime!
Encouraging your toddler to do some role playing will inspire them to be creative and inventive in building their make-believe world.
2. It helps your child develop critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Pretend play also motivates your child to use their critical thinking and problem solving skills to resolve challenges that they may encounter during playtime.
For example, they will learn which kind of pretend play is the most appropriate for the type of situation they are in, such as indoor play during a rainy day. They may also learn how to choose the proper role play according to what toys and objects they have at the moment. These decision-making skills are crucial for improving their mental skills.
3. It helps improve your child’s vocabulary.
Did you know that pretend play may have a huge impact on your child’s language development? Pretend play has been seen to improve children’s vocabulary. For example, if your child imitates an aircraft pilot, then they may be keen on using relevant vocabulary. So pay attention: you just might be surprised at the words and phrases your child uses during play!
Aside from technical terms that are relevant to what your child is interested in imitating, playtime, in general, is also a factor in expanding vocabulary. This is because playing, especially with other children, requires communication.
4. It hones your child’s social and emotional development.
Role playing helps your child understand the dynamics of real life. Thus, when they are engaged in pretend play, they begin to see the world from multiple perspectives. This helps them learn how to act in a particular context. For example, pretend play may help them know how to act while grocery shopping or during a visit to the dentist.
Playing pretend with other children hones your child’s social skills even further. They learn how to cooperate and share responsibilities, take turns and solve problems as a team!
5. It may help form your child’s goals and aspirations.
Finally, pretend play may be help your child determine what they want to do when they grow up. Their favorite role to imitate just might align with their goals and aspirations. Of course, this is not true for every child, but pretend play gives you a clear idea of what they enjoy doing. It also reflects your child’s skills, interests, and general preferences.
For example, a child who enjoys imitating cooking shows might be inclined to try cooking for real when they’re older. Again, pay attention to what your child loves to imitate!
Pretend play does keep your children entertained and amused. But there are more benefits of pretend play that you need to know, as it has lasting effects on your child’s overall health and well-being.