Updated: November 7th, 2020
Without a doubt, pretend play is one of the important activities a parent can engage in with their child.
While a lot of parents argue that pretend play offers a child no benefits, tons of research proves them wrong.
When a parent encourages their child to play make-believe or to make use of their imagination, that single act does much more than keep the child involved and occupied. Children benefit immensely from pretend play.
In fact, the benefits are quite numerous because a single benefit initiates several more.
Pretend play has actually been proven to be an important part of development in children. At their early stages, children are the most malleable and parents can easily teach them and groom them for their older years.
Here are 5 of the top benefits your child can gain from pretend play.
1. Improved creativity
One of the most important benefits a child gains from pretend play is improved creativity. Creativity is one skill that is sought out in every single career in existence.
When a child engages in pretend play, he or she gets a taste of a life without limits. In that world, nothing is impossible. Here, they see fairies, dragons, unicorns, and every other the real world does not offer.
In their little minds, they have a taste of what it means to believe that nothing is impossible. When a parent steps in and encourages their thought process, their belief in their ability to push boundaries increases.
Think of it as handing your child a clean sheet with paints of every single color ever created. The possibilities are endless.
A child that is brought up to push boundaries and explore untouched lands has a higher chance of being successful simply because they are not limited by what is, but are encouraged by what can be.
Several parents argue that it allows children to grow up with their heads in the clouds. However, this is quite false. As the child grows, they will easily distinguish between what is real and what they want to be able to accomplish.
Creativity is a skill of immeasurable value. If you are interested in building the foundation for a life of creative thinking, it starts now.
One toy that can help with a child’s creativity is a play kitchen. Older kids especially can use play kitchens to improve their imaginative skills in a variety of ways.
2. Improved problems solving abilities
A lot of problems which we face in this age cannot be solved by textbook answers any longer. The market is out for those who can think outside of the box in order to solve problems. A lot of these problems turn out to need unconventional and unheard-of solutions. These solutions are fathomed, developed, and expressed by free-thinkers.
The ability to reason far and wide is not developed in one’s adult stage. Rather, it is something that one develops as a child and further cultivates as he or she ages.
For example, a child playing a doctor will want to think like one. His past experience in a hospital will surely come to play in how he treats his make-believe patients. This process will surely help with his problem-solving activities.
3. Improved relationship
When a parent encourages their child to pretend play, the parent is showing that child that he/she is always willing to hear their deepest thoughts. When your child knows that they have your complete support, a relationship of love, trust, and encouragement is built.
4. Improved ability to think for one’s self
When a child is allowed to think as broadly as they possibly can without the fear of being shut down, self-confidence is built. If a child is given the ability to express himself, he develops much faster than a child whose brain is conformed to fit what the parents deem as ‘reality’. He can think freely, fashion his thoughts, express them as ideas, and back them up with confidence.
5. Improved learning skills
Children who are allowed to engage in pretend play usually turn out smarter in school. They have the most interesting essays and compositions, they reason out of the box to find solutions to problems on verbal and quantitative reasoning, and they come up with new ideas for projects.
They also have more open minds and so, it is easy to teach them as they are willing to learn anything new and challenging.
As a parent, one of the best things you can do for your child is to encourage them to reason and think as far as they can.
The ability to use one’s imagination is very important.
In addition to just allowing your child to engage in play pretend, join them in it. You are their biggest authority figure at the moment and if you show encouragement, you are building their confidence in themselves, in you, and in your relationship.