Most of the time, when we think of “playtime” for children, a session of playing on the swings or running in the garden comes to mind. While this form of letting off steam is important, there are other play methods that come with the added advantage of facilitating learning.
One such method is pretend play. If you’ve seen a classroom setting where a group of students are playing with a doctor’s kit, or acting like a teacher, you have seen them engaging in pretend play.
Also called imaginative play, pretend play engages children in different worldly perspectives, helping their social and cognitive development.
There are many benefits of pretend or role play. Here are some of them.
1. Improves expression
The more a child plays, the more they learn about their interests, abilities, likes, and dislikes. The best way to instigate this is via role play.
The easiest way to encourage role play is by giving your child a doll and allowing them to spend time with it alone in their most favourite and comfortable place in the house. They will eventually find a friend in the doll and start expressing ideas and feelings.2. Supports social and emotional development
2. Supports social and emotional development
Pretending to be different characters and controlling objects to observe results helps a child experiment with social and emotional roles. They learn about themselves and how the world around them works. By engaging in pretend play, they grow into more empathetic and responsible adults.
As you see your child playing pretend with a group of friends, you see them co-operate, collaborate, and negotiate while finalising roles. This makes them more aware of the “theory of mind”, understanding that another person’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions can be different from their own.
3. Fosters creativity
Since children act out scenarios of their own choosing, they have more control over how they would like certain things to be. This gives them more area to explore their imagination, fostering creativity.
Give your little ones some mud and let them play with it. Let them make figures and different objects out of it. They are sure to create something you might have never seen before!
4. Enhances physical development
Besides all the psychological advantages that imaginative play brings to the table, remember that it sometimes requires physical activity and is a superb way for children to exercise and build their motor skills.
When your child goes running around with a toy aeroplane like a pilot, wears a toy stethoscope pretending to be a doctor, or creates imaginative buildings with blocks like an architect, they unknowingly sharpen their motor skills.
Apart from being filled with perks and educational benefits, pretend play is fun, too! It allows a child’s imagination to run wild, giving them a chance to feel that there’s more to the world than meets the eye.
So, the next time you see your child play pretend with their tea set or action figures, don’t rush them. Give them time to settle in with their thoughts and explore the unexplored.
As a school that facilitates learning with nature, Beansprouts encourages children to study in a green environment. The campus has cascading terraces and natural sandpits to allow students to feel close to nature at all times.
Events and competitions involving role play are often organised to give students a glimpse of the real world.
We create a ‘love for learning’ that builds confidence within a caring, secure environment. We also provide large, accessible, sensory spaces flooded with natural light and equipped with tech-enabled facilities to support each child’s learning journey.