Have you ever gotten your child a large toy or item as a gift only to have them with the box it came in more than the actual present? To a parent, it may like just a box, but to a child, that box may become a rocketship, race car, secret hideout, or something else entirely. Whatever the details are,that child is engaging in imaginative play and, what many parents do not know, the process of make belief is essential in early childhood development, making imaginative play very beneficial.

Reasons Why Imaginative Play Is Beneficial for Young Children

At Jaycees Early Learning Center in Fort Washington, we encourage imaginative play in our structured setting. We do this because we know how beneficial it can be, and in this blog, were are going to review a few of the many benefits of imaginative play for young children.

Development of Social and Emotional Skills

When a child is engaging in imaginative play, he or she is actively experimenting with some of the social and emotional roles of life. Pretending to be in another character or person’s shows helps children learn the skill of empathy, which holds importance in their moral development. This skill helps children expand from an imaginative world in which they are the main character to a world where interaction and engagement with others take place.

Development of Thinking Skills

When a child is engaging in imaginative play, at some point or another they will encounter a problem when he or she plays, whether it’s drawing on a box to make it look more speedy racecar or figuring out how to cross the living room floor without stepping in lava. The way they work around these obstacles

Development of Language Skills

Engaging in imaginary play allows your child to experiment with and better understand the power of language. Children often use the words and phrases they hear their parents and teachers say as they tend to imitate other people during imaginative play. Plus, when your child engages in imaginative play, he or she is creating or re-enacting a story, making valuable connections between spoken and written language.

Development of Symbolic Thinking

Pretend play also helps children better understand the importance of symbols, which is a vital skill that enables children to discover that letters stand for sounds and numbers for amounts. This is when they learn about the concepts of language as well as math. A perfect example of this is using a box more than the toy or item inside. Knowing what symbols mean is an essential step in the development of symbolic thinking.

How To Encourage Imaginative Play

Many parent’s wonder how they can encourage creative and pretend play with their children, but it is often as simple as providing them with safe, fun, and simple toys and props. These items can range from old bed sheets, dress up clothes, and blankets to pots and pans — and, of course, the simple cardboard box!  When you provide your child with an item too specific, such as a game, he or she won’t need to use as much creativity to play with it. So, instead, provide more simple objects that can be used in various ways.

Additionally, a great way to encourage pretend play is enrolling your child in an early learning center. Pretend play is often a huge part of the structured setting these childcare centers follow.

If you are in need of an early learning center, contact Jaycees Early Learning Center. Our childcare center is ideal for parents looking for quality and low-income daycare in Fort Washington and the surrounding areas.