What is Imaginative play?
To simply answer, it’s when children use their imagination to create a whole new world to explore. It’s un-constructed and unled play; where dreams come true and the impossible becomes your reality for those precious moments where time stands still. It’s where children can be anything, or anyone, and most importantly, it’s where children learn the most about themselves and life.
Why is it so important you may ask, why should we encourage make believe play? Imaginative play, is the fundamental works of a child's mind.Children learn from exposure and experience from the world surrounding them. By encouraging pretend play with children, you’re exposing them to all of their senses: to see, to adapt, to build motor skills, to listen, to problem solve, to create and to advance their language skills.
Have you ever heard your child having a conversation with their mermaid friend? With their pet dinosaur who's sipping tea? You may realise that they’re saying new words that you haven’t heard before; and that’s the beauty of imaginative play. It promotes important emotional and speech development, by how they react in certain environments and situations. For example, what will they do when their dinosaur friend runs out of tea? Will they ask them first? Will they refill their cup and demonstrate pouring skills? These are all key milestones for healthy, developmental growth within children that’s often unrecognised through pretend play.
How to bring imaginative play into your home?
The possibilities of make believe and role play are endless. Let your child lead the play, and they will blossom. Some ideas of role play are;
Children are always, watching, listening and learning. If mum or dad is cutting up vegetables for dinner, you may find your child practising their chef skills in the pretend kitchen the next day. Their minds are their own little treasure chests; collecting words, movements and sounds, to create a whole new story for them to journey into. It’s all the more fun if youembrace your inner child too, and play together, on your wild quest.
As a mother myself, I’m always doubting my teaching skills to my daughter, but I now understand that she’s learning every single day. It’s the small stepping stones in life that gets us to where we need to be, and every child has a different path and different sized stones.
Make believe play, is a beautiful way to connect with ourselves and those around us, while having fun and learning at the same time.
As the beautifully famous, Amelia Earhart, once said,
“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”