The Many Benefits of Pretend Play in Preschool

When pre-schoolers and young children engage in pretend play, they tend to be more creative, imaginative, do better at school and better equipped at problem solving when it comes to learning. Essentially, pretend play helps young children to build skills that are crucial for many areas of their development.

Physical Development

Pretend play allows children to express themselves in a verbal and non-verbal way.  Children are able to use all of their senses and physicality in order to do this. For example, they can enhance their fine motor skills and hand eye coordination when they use scissors, pencils, play dough and paint brushes etc. Their gross motor skills are developed when they dance, move or create large constructions.

Language Development

During pretend play children can comfortably experiment with their use of language.  When children are involved in pretend play with their peers at day care, they can start to understand that words allow them to retell a story or a situation.

Thinking Skills

Pretend play allows children to try out new things such as how to problem solve.  During pretend play, children may encounter various problems that they have to solve. For instance two children may want to take on the same role in their game or they may need to decide together on what container would be the best option to use as a pretend kettle in the role play corner. These crucial thinking skills are vital for their development and are skills that they will use them for the remainder of their lives.

Emotional Development

When children are engaged in pretend play they can express feelings that are both positive and negative. By doing this they are able to take on and experience different feelings and emotions and are therefore able to grasp an understanding of them and their impact.

Social Development

When children take part in pretend play they are able to get to grips with the different social roles that are present in life. During pretend play children also have the opportunity to develop crucial skills, which are important when it comes to being accepted amongst their peers. Pretend play enables children to learn how to compromise and cooperate with others. It also enables children to take part in social activities and allows them the opportunity to understand social relationships. When children use toy figures, such as dolls, they learn how to interact and they also learn how to develop social cues such as eye contact and using emotions.

Encouraging Pretend Play At Home

Although your child will take part in pretend play at day care you can further extend this at home. You can nurture your child’s pretend play by creating a prop box, which could be filled with various items to enrich their imagination. In your prop box you could add:

  • Pieces of fabric, blankets etc. for making dens and costumes.
  • Paper and pens so that they can make lists and notes.
  • Cardboard boxes, large plastic boxes to create a pretend home, shop, office etc.
  • Cooking utensils, napkins, dishes, flowers, food containers etc.
  • Magazines and newspapers.
  • Hats, shoes and clothes.