The Importance of Imaginary Play

Bestway Basketball Play Swimming Pool Children’s Paddling Pool

When it comes to young children, the sky really is the limit. Whether it is pretending their hand is a character with it’s own personality. Turning into a super hero, Pretending that your favourite coaster is a super bike. Imaginary play is extremely important. Whilst to us it’s a little bit of fun. There is actually quite a lot going on in their tiny brains.

Social and Emotional Skills

Whilst children are creating scenarios in their mind and then acting them out through imaginary play. They are learning so many social and emotional skills. If their dolly is “crying” or their bike has a “puncture”, then this is teaching them how to deal with emotions and problem solving. By being a different person they are taking a moment in someone elses shoes. So for example , If your child is pretending to be a shop keeper. Serving customers, requesting money it is helping them to learn how to communicate with other people. It’s also teaching them how to problem solve. “I’m sorry we don’t have any of those at the moment, would you like this instead?”

It is normal for young children to see the world from their own point of view. Often without much thought of how it may affect someone else. But through interactive play , your child will begin to understand the feelings of others . Which in turn will help to build their own self-esteem. As they discover they can be anything they want to just by pretending!

Creativity Skills

As a parent myself I am often asked to sit down whilst the kids put on a ‘show’ for me. It usually involves a few dodgy notes, a bit of a complicated script work and some questionable dance moves. However the whole thing from start to finish is helping them to be creative. Their creative juices flow massively when making up their own story or mixing things into different scenes.

Art work is a great way of stretching imagination

The same thing can be said with art work. It’s absolutely incredible what kids can do with a few twigs, a couple of leaves and some imagination! I remember once my daughters teacher grabbed hold of me in a supermarket car park. She had been driving around for months with a piece of her artwork in the boot of her car. Hoping that she would catch up with me to give it to me. Super excited about the thought and imagination that had gone into this painting. At the young age of 5 she had created this masterpiece with nothing but her imagination and a few paints!

This was drawn at the Age of 4 years old

Little did I know that this tiny bit of creativity and use of her imagination would develop and she would become incredible at art. In fact she is so good people struggle to believe that she has done it herself. Had I not have encouraged her to use her imagination and express herself through her art.She may not be where she is right now with it.

Eye drawing age 12!

Hand / Eye co-ordination and fine motor skills

Very often during imaginary play a child will dress up in different costumes. Or use an item as a certain magical tool. For example the TV remote may become a super sonic, super power controller. Unknown to your little ones all of this is helping them with their hand/ eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. Doing up a button on your fireman coat. Or placing an object in a shopping trolley when playing shops all helps.

Speech and language

Have you ever sat there and listened to your child playing and thought to yourself “Wow I didn’t know they even knew what that meant”. By using their imagination and creating scenarios they are learning how to speak and different tones. For example , My 3 year old was telling her dolly off the other day. ” No dolly , you can’t do that it’s naughty” Followed by a totally new and more caring voice. ” It’s ok , you can say sorry and we will play again” All the time through this play she was learning different roles and tones to her voice. Expressive and caring all at once. I’m pretty sure we have all slipped up and said a swear word only for your little one to be playing and say it themselves. Whilst we put our head in our hands they have somehow understood it and then used it in their play.

These are just a small amount of benefits from imaginary play and I’m sure if you sit and think about it there are many more. So next time you’re asked to play dollies or be a super hero. Dust of your childish mind and go have fun. You might just enjoy it and at the same time your child will be learning many new skills

Thanks for reading#


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