The Importance of Role Play in a Child's Life
Pretend Play forms a valuable and essential part of a child’s development. It’s now widely recognised by paediatricians and educators as an essential method of learning and development in young children. Several theorists such as Lev Vygotsky (Cognitive Development Theory) and Jean Piaget (Theory of Play) have identified the values of imaginative play as a necessary contributor to the development of a child. Imaginative play, which allows ideas and emotions to be moulded and rearranged, is a major feature of a child’s social and cognitive development.
Encouraging Imagination and Creativity
Research has identified that an important benefit of imaginative play is the development of a child’s capacity for cognitive flexibility and creativity. The ability to use our imagination is a cognitive skill that we all require throughout life. It’s important to ensure there are ample opportunities for children to experience, initiate and engage in imaginative play.
Supporting Social and Emotional Development
When a child engages in imaginative play and pretends to be different characters, they are essentially experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life. It’s about learning who they are as individuals, how the world works and how to walk in somebody else’s shoes. They develop empathy and learn how to co-operate, become responsible and share responsibility. Through make believe, imaginative play allows children to experience and express emotions and deal with them positively.
Improving Language and Communication Skills
It’s amusing to listen to children interact with their friends and share phrases, stories and sounds that we didn’t know they could make. Imaginative play allows children to experiment and learn about the power of communication, and how it affects others and themselves. It also helps them to understand that words help make ourselves heard and understood.
Imaginative play offers the perfect opportunity to expose children to new vocabulary, thus expanding it. They could spend a whole afternoon at “the supermarket” purchasing ingredients for dinner, or a whole morning at the “doctors” learning all the different words associated with check-ups and medical equipment such as a stethoscope.
Through role play, children learn to choose their words carefully when they communicate. They use their listening skills to understand what’s going on around them and how to fit in.
Developing Thinking, Learning and Problem-Solving Abilities
Imaginative play presents children with a variety of different problems to solve. Scenarios help them decide what games to play, what characters to take on, who will be involved, what the rules will be and how to fix issues if something “goes wrong”. Participating in pretend play requires a child to call upon cognitive thinking skills that they find themselves using in each aspect of everyday life. These skills will stay with them all the way through to adulthood.
Keiki Early Learning
Keiki Early Learning encourages play-based learning. We want children to be led by their imagination when they play, with no limits as to where their minds can take them. Our environments allows your child to use their imagination as a learning tool. We use song, dance and art to help utilize their creativity so that they learn new cognitive and personal skills. If you want your child to grow in a playful learning space, fill out our Enquiry Form today.