As passionate as we are about active outdoor play, there is another form of play that is just as important, imagination play.
Imagination play, dramatic, pretend or make-believe play as it is also known, is critical for a child’s cognitive development (the development of intelligence, conscious thought, and problem-solving ability that begins in infancy) and social skills. The importance of imagination play can not be underestimated. It helps children to problem solve, gain confidence, learn and gain an understanding of actions and reactions. It’s not only a creative outlet- acting out all the different thoughts in their head, it can be an emotional outlet for them to role play anything that is on their mind. Lets not forget, it’s also fun!
The way to develop your child’s imagination is to simply encourage them to use it by providing opportunities for them to do so. This starts from a very young age, through play. Children with good imaginations grow up to be adults who are creative, intelligent, problem solvers and socially relaxed and confident.
Imagination allows children to practice real-life skills. When they are being shop keepers in their cafe, or pretending to be a mum or dad in their cubby, they are experimenting with different thoughts and emotions. When playing like this with another child, they are learning to take turns in their role play and they’re practicing their language skills as they engage in conversation as a character. It develops their vocabulary by allowing them to use in context words they have been taught or heard adults using.
Imagination helps children solve problems by helping them think about different outcomes to new situations and problems. When they learn to do this through imagination play, it will naturally translate into other areas of their life, from the classroom when working out a maths problem to in the school yard when trying interacting with their peers. When they have the capacity to imagine different outcomes and possibilities it is easier for them to work things out and adapt.
When a child uses their imagination, the possibilities (and the fun) are endless!
ps: When your children use their imaginations, you get to use yours too! It’s brilliant fun for everyone!
Kids love imaginative play. In fact, so do adults.As a responsible adult, I often use my imagination – to pretend I’m lounging beside a pool, reading a book and sipping a cold drink, atop a mountain so high (yet, amazingly, the weather is wonderfully warm) that no one, not even
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