Pretend play is a vital part of a child’s development. Activities that encourage children to “make-believe” and explore their creativity is not only fun; it also helps develop essential life skills they can use growing up.
Imaginative play is an activity that allows the child to play a character and act out experiences that capture their interests. Creating a pretend space can aid in the development of a child’s language and cognitive skills. It also teaches social competence, problem-solving, and even understanding a social situation.
Children usually start playing “make-believe” between the ages of 1 and 2. During this stage, the little ones copy the everyday actions that adults do, such as talking on the phone or using keys.
Make-believe games can last until a child is 4-years-old. At this stage, the scenarios are more elaborate, and the storylines are more expansive.
Benefits of Imaginary Plays
Providing your child a safe space to act out different scenarios lets them experience situations they may not be able to have in real life.
Imaginative play encourages children to engage in a conversation with his toys or peers. The activity helps them understand the power of language and associate a word with an action or a feeling. Additionally, playing with other people allows your child to learn words they can use while reenacting a story.
Imaginative plays support the child in learning and building who they are as an individual, where they fit in the world around them, and how to face the world. Engaging in pretend play lets them experiment with social and emotional roles of life, including sharing the responsibility and solving a problem.
Pretend play challenges a child’s cognitive thinking skills. For example, if your kid wants to “bake” a cake, they would need to find the right equipment to use and “follow” a recipe.
Engaging in pretend play allows a child to have a sense of achievement, which helps build their self-confidence.
Giving your child a safe space to act out certain situations can also encourage them to role-play their fears. This may include their fear that a monster is hiding under the bed. Imaginative play allows them to build a sense of control and plan out ways they can deal with these fears.
Various Imaginary Playspace Ideas
To children, a box is not just a box. It can be a fort, a boat, a car, and even a rocket ship. Your child’s play space can be made using recycled materials and toys you already have at home. We partnered with Mel from Instagram’s ‘Inspired.Play’ to give your four easy and fun imaginary play space ideas that you can make today.
1. The Library
Stock up on a variation of kid-friendly books, recipes, and novels to build your child’s bookshop. Placing tables, chairs, magazines, and shelves in a room would also complete the “library look.” Have your child’s toy dolls act as her customers to encourage communication. This idea can also assist the child in gaining more interest in reading.
2. Vet Clinic
Your child’s stuffed animals or figurines can become their next patient. Pretend to ask the child to diagnose the animal’s illness and cure it using various tools in the clinic. To make the Vet Clinic more realistic, you can provide them with bandages, boxes, blankets, scales, and signs.
3. Grocery Store
Create your own grocery store at home by placing recycled boxes or containers, signs, and baskets in a large room. You can also set a play cash register with play money on a small table to encourage your child to run the best market in the world.
4. Cardboard Cubby House
Recycle large boxes laying around the household and create a simple cubby house. Cut out squares for windows and doors and ask your child to help you decorate the home using paint or stickers. Give the cubby house a complete look by making a hole in the roof big enough for a torch.