Pretend play in childhood is essential to development in social, emotional, and cognitive growth. Looking at the research, we can clearly see six reasons kids need to pretend play.
1. Better vocabulary
Courtney, S. (1999, Summer). Play matters.
2. Improves motor skills
Strickland, E. (2004). Developing motor skills-dramatically! Scholastic Early Childhood Today,19.3,9.
3. Better social skills
Elkind, D. (2007). The power of play. Da Capo Press.
5. Increases self-control
Bodrova, E., & Leong, D. (2005). Why children need play. Scholastic Early Childhood Today 20,1. 6.
6. Cognitive (thinking) development
GmitrovÃ¡, V . (2003) The impact of teacher-directed and child-directed pretend play on cognitive competence in kindergarten children. Early Childhood Education Journal, (2003) Vol.30, No. 4, pp. 241 – 246.
Isn’t this so amazing?
And, pretend play is natural for kids! As parents, we can facilitate pretend play with toys that encourage imagination. Try not to give your child a toy that “does it all,” such as a doll with a television show or one that includes batteries.
Recommended Pretend Play Toys
Of course, there are many more wonderful ideas for open-ended, imaginative play, these are just to get you started.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recently wrote that “The highest-scoring toys so far have been quite simple: hardwood blocks, a set of wooden vehicles and road signs, and classic wooden construction toys. These toys are relatively open-ended, so children can use them in multiple ways.” Read the entire article on the NAEYC website.