Why is Imaginative Play Important For Child Development?
Do your kids have the kind of crazy imagination that ends up transporting them to a whole new world in their head? Suddenly their wardrobe becomes a portal to another dimension and their blankets become a superhero cape! If this sounds like your child then their active imagination is benefiting them in ways you may not know. If you’d like to know why getting your kid’s imagination at play is a vital step in their development, then keep reading as we list these key important benefits.
Here’s ways that imaginative play can help with your child’s development!
Sometimes also called pretend or dramatic play for toddlers and young kids is not just about fun. lets dive in...
Why is imaginative play important? It helps with emotional development!
Emotional development is a vital part of growing up, we all know kids need to develop a range of emotions and have an outlet to express them freely. Well when you allow your kids to engage in some imaginative play, this allows them to healthily express these emotions. Allowing your child’s imagination at play can help them regulate their emotions which in turn helps them develop empathy, thoughtfulness, and become more understanding. You’re probably wondering, how am I going to get the kids away from the TV and into some imaginative, guilt-free play? Well keep reading for some play ideas that are sure to get your kid’s imagination at play, all day! A great pretend play idea for children is to play dress-up, tell them they can be whatever they want to and find them a costume. A superhero is a great character for pretend play as when they put on their cape, suddenly they can feel brave and strong, exactly as a superhero would! This role play activity is great for their imagination and emotional development. Keep reading to find out about how getting your kids imagination at play can also help with their social skills too!
Social and language development is a key benefit of getting your kids’ imagination at play
That’s right, alongside their emotional development, imaginative play can also help with not only their social development, but language acquisition too! Imaginative play often involves children playing with others which means there is opportunity to listen and respond to other children, learn new words, and practice socialising with other children. This can be seen through classic childhood roleplay games such as ‘families’ as children will decide on what roles everyone is going to play and act as what they think that character would say and do. During these pretend play games, their imagination is at play because they will have to apply their existing knowledge to the character they’ve been assigned and then play as that character by socialising with the others! This social activity promotes language development, social skills, and imagination. A fun play idea to get their imagination at play and boost their social skills is to play shops! They will have to decide what they want to pretend to sell and communicate by buying it. Another social pretend play idea is playing teachers, the children will decide who wants to be the leader by being the teacher and who wants to be the listener by being the pupil. These ideas are the perfect way to encourage language development and communication skills through imaginative play.
Moving on, children deciding which roles to play in a group helps them develop their decision making and problem solving skills as they may not always be happy with which character they are or they may want to accept a role they didn’t want to make their friend happy. Keep reading to find out more about decision making skills in the next paragraph!
Is imaginative play good for the brain?
When you get your child’s imagination at play, this provides opportunities for your child to develop cognitively by doing things like decision making and problem solving! These are important skills that your child will need as they grow up, so developing these is important! So what does decision making and problem solving look like during imaginative play? Well it can be when your child is building a train track, they have to decide which pieces they need to make a circulate track, or a straight one. They also have to decide which pieces to put together when playing with toys like legos. Another common example of decision making and problem solving during play is when children are playing socially and they decide on which roles they all get, maybe one child wants the same role as another? They will all have to come to an agreement which is great for emotional regulation!
We make sure our kids are growing and learning through imaginative play by always playing games that provide opportunities for decision making and problem solving. One way we do this is by playing a game of sleeping bear! You will need: a chair or something to sit on (we’re using our Capikooa balance board), a set of keys or a noisy object, and at least 3 players!
If you’ve never played before, here’s how:
Firstly, your children are going to decide on who the sleeping bear is, this person will then lay on the balance board with their eyes closed as if they’re asleep. The next step is to place the keys in the space under the board and have the other children stand in a circle around the sleeping lion. The children will have to use their problem solving and decision making skills to think about how they are going to get the keys back without the sleeping bear noticing them! The sleeping bear is also going to use their skills to think about how they are going to detect the others. If this game sounds like something your kids would love then check out our Instagram reel here to see how we set this idea up! If you want to get your child's imagination at play then you should consider following us for more creative play ideas. Anyway, speaking of creativity…
What activities support imagination in play? Creativity is a key benefit!
At Capikooa we like to say that creativity is the skill of the future. But how do we make sure kids are using their imagination and enhancing their creativity? The answer is providing them with open-ended toys! When you provide your child with an open-ended toy you are giving them the opportunity to play freely as open-ended toys are designed to be whatever your child wants them to be! Our Capikooa wooden balance boards are an example of an open-ended toy as we use simple, high quality natural materials that don’t distract from your child’s play. By giving them a toy like this, you’re encouraging your child to use their ultimate imagination because with no fancy colours, no set way to play, your child makes the rules! Our balance boards can be used in many different ways for imaginative play, they can be turned into just about anything. One of the joys that comes with our boards is that you don’t have to decide what to do with it, your kids will! They could turn it into a car and pretend to be a racecar driver, or they could turn it into a boat and be the captain of a pirate ship! They could even use the board to jump onto during an intense game of ‘the floor is lava’. One of the benefits of using natural materials to make our boards is that children have the option to turn it into anything they wish. What do you think your child would come up with?
Thank you for reading! We hope you enjoyed reading about all the benefits imagination at play has for your child, if you’re still curious and want to know more about the benefits of creative play. If you’re in need of some more play ideas then follow us on Instagram @capikooa where we post lots of creative play ideas for you to enjoy! Make sure to tag us in your imagination at play. Why not also sign up to our newsletter where you can get the VIP treatment as you’ll be the first to know about any offers and discounts and we will keep you up to date with our latest play ideas!
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