As a parent, you know the importance of giving your child as many opportunities to grow is immensely critical and not in the literal “you’ve gotten taller” way. You want to help them establish a connection to the world around them and help fuel their imagination. The best way for a child to accomplish these goals is through play. Play is by far the absolute best way for a child to learn. It enlists so many characteristics into your child that has lasting affects even into their adult life. One form of play that is greatly beneficial for this cause is pretend play. Pretend play opens up a world of new possibilities and teaches children to think outside of the box. For kids, there is little that they are in control of in their lives, so by granting them this opportunity, parents would be empowering children to make their own decisions and experiment to find what they like and dislike. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your child open up to a new world and to see the progress they are making. The importance of pretend play doesn’t just stop at being a fun way for children to play. It teaches them a variety of skills such as problem solving which will most definitely be a useful skill for them their whole life. Problem solving skills can be hard for children to acquire and it can be even more difficult if they are not able to process a situation. Everyone loses their temper sometimes, but as a parent it’s important to instill into our children the tools that they can use to overcome such problems. A tool for problem solving is patience. Patience is an important characteristic for children to carry because it teaches them to keep composure and instead put their efforts into the issue at hand.
Moreover, pretend play teaches kids to use ordinary objects as anything they wish. This aspect is particularly important because it helps children think outside of the box and to use all of their mental capability and push the limits. This is essential to a child’s growth and it contributes so much to their success in the future. The habits that are enlisted in them now teach them that there is a solution to every problem, and we need more critical thinkers in this world.
As a parent myself, I started to notice that with each child I had, the children seemed less interested in their toys and the world around them. We would go to the store, they would pick out an interesting toy, and basically as soon as it endured the car ride home, they lost interest. I soon learned that children are simply forgetting how to play. This is when I started to understand the importance of pretend play. Children need to play with their toys, and they need to achieve that higher level of playing that so many children nowadays, seem to lack. For play to be as affective as possible for children, it is crucial for them to connect to the things around them.
One thing that really helped my own children was modeling what they saw in other kids. Once children relearned how to play, they weren’t simply copying anymore, but they were thriving. They were coming up with all sorts of ideas for their toys and numerous ways to incorporate the things around them into new toys, adventures, schemes, and silly pranks.
The changes that I saw were not just directed as their play. Although I am immensely happy with the results that focused on the way they played, I noticed an outpour of numerous other benefits. For instance, my children were now more patient. They took more time to solve a problem before they came to me and most of the time, they didn’t even need adult intervention or help in a problem that they had. When faced with a dilemma they came up with creative ways to overcome the issue at hand. I owe all of these benefits to pretend play.
Another effective way for children to better learn these skills that are a result of play, is to model other children as I mentioned above. Modeling is important because it essentially sets forth the ground rules under which children will continue to behave. For instance, if they see another child turn a box or a spoon into a unique toy that requires their imagination, the child will model a similar behavior trait and characteristic down the line. Although adults contribute an important role into how a child acts, behaves, and plays, there are some things that children must learn from each other. Introducing your children to this from an earlier age is important so they grow up with these attributes in their environment. Imitation is key for children and it needs to happen in a natural manner. Helping introduce children to this is a good start and will help them learn and developmentally grow in a manner than can only be achieved through imitation of their peers.
With the effects of COVID-19 dampening many plans, it may be hard for you to find ways for your child to engage in this modeling and imitation behavior. I have found that resorting to educational and entertaining pretend play videos for a short amount of time each day is without a doubt one of the best alternatives to an in-person experience. These videos tend to average just a few minutes long with a few compilations here and there. An example that I have used for this purpose in my own children is attached down below for viewer convenience.