Pretend play is a critical part of your child’s development and something that all kids should be doing at some point in their younger years. Most children will experiment with “pretend play” all by themselves, but there’s also a lot that parents can do to encourage the process too.
Researchers think that pretend play is critical for several reasons. First, it’s a great way for kids to expand their vocabulary. They might not have the opportunity to experiment in other areas of their life. But pretend play gives them an excuse to explore different themes, such as castles, fairies and pirates.
Pretend play also helps children imagine what it is like to be another person. In turn, this intellectual exercise can help them become more empathetic to others in their environment. They are able to see things from another person’s perspective.
Pretend play is also good for children who have language difficulties. It helps them with their word choice and is a great way to move them forwards.
So what can parents do to encourage pretend play? Let’s take a look at some of your options.
Just Put Out One Or Two Toys At Once
Putting out all your kid’s toys all at once seems like a good idea for keeping them entertained. But it turns out that being sparing with your toys is a better option. That’s because it encourages kids to use the more creative aspects of their minds. When they only have a few toys to enjoy, it forces them to get more creative in how they play with them, encouraging things like imaginative play.
You can also try taking turns with your child, showing them what to do and then letting them follow your lead. For instance, when playing with a Super Wings Jett toy, you could show them how it transforms from a plane into a robot and then back again. Your child can then experiment with this themselves.
Incorporate New Experiences
When it comes to fostering pretend play, incorporating new experiences into the mix is essential. For instance, you might take them to a new place, like the zoo. Or you could start reading books to them, allowing their minds to recreate the story in their heads.
Use Sock Puppets
If your child is still learning how to pretend play, then you might try to model it using sock puppets. You could have it so that one sock puppet is talking to another about their day, like a role play. And then your child could try it out for themselves.
Keep Pretend Play Simple
Although introducing multiple elements to pretend play seems like a good idea, your best bet is to keep things as simple as you can. That’s because most scenarios you introduce will be entirely new for your kids. A teddy bear’s picnic, for instance, is a brand new concept for a two-year-old child.
In summary, therefore, encouraging pretend play is good for your child’s development. What’s more, it’s also a lot of fun for them and helps to make their lives more enjoyable.