Free, unstructured, imaginative child-directed play seems to be vanishing in the current society though most people believe it’s vital for children’s emotional and intellectual development. According to a studycomparing the relationship between imaginative play and executive function skills, a group of children involved in a pretend play group showed remarkable improvements in working memory and flexible thinking tasks.
Playing games such as bubble tube is children’s “work.” Just as adults gain various experiences from their professions, children process their experiences through play. Imaginative play has been connected to language skills development, emotion regulation, problem-solving skills, and cognitive reasoning.
Here’s how you can encourage pretend play.
- Start When Your Child is Still Young
Young preschoolers are capable of engaging in imaginative play. Giving your child a few tasks that spark their imagination is a great way to start training them for imaginative play. Once you’ve given them those tasks, allow them to play for 20 minutes on their own. As they get used to playing, you can add more tasks and small amounts of time until they get accustomed to the game.
If you’re a super-busy dad or mom, you need to schedule time for pretend play just as you schedule essential things on your calendar. Kids need supervision in doing tasks includingplaying. Setting aside some hours for pretend play for your kid every week may help them gain skills quickly.
As a rule of thumb, you need to ensure that you only play with your kid after they’ve done all chores and homework. Playing with the kids also helps to make the game exciting and fun. To take the fun to the next level, you can also involve other parents and kids to make it look like a social event.
- Select or Create a Perfect Environment
Many imaginative plays occur in classrooms though they are centered around the home area. A classroom can be a great place to initiate a child into imaginative play. But because children reinvent many scenes in different places such as theaters, supermarkets, petrol stations, holidays, libraries, restaurants, hospitals, and castles, you need an excellent playground or classroom that can set a scene and make their imaginations run wild.
You may need to invest in some good playgrounds, equipment, or quality play area to achieve an inspiring imaginative play experience. An imaginative playground should be inviting and capable of inspiring creativity. You may also use themed play equipment to set an interactive, pretend play scene. The place you select to stage an imaginative play should be one that can make children be creative.
- Create A Problem
When playing pretend, present problems to your kids that they need to solve. If they get stuck in a rut as they play, let them act out the scenario repeatedly till they find a solution. Once they’ve found a solution, introduce a new problem that they haven’t encountered. For example, if you’re playing astronaut and you’re flying to space in a rocket, pretend there’s a mechanical problem with the engine and let the child give the solution.
Pretend play is one way parents and teachers can inspire and nurture creativity in children. But because kids may sometimes get bored quickly with new activities, you need to encourage them. Creating a problem for your kids to solve during playtime can also help to improve their imaginative skills.