Encouraging Pretend PlayPretend play is an important part of being a child. All kids are naturally drawn to it. They let their imaginations run free and see where it takes them. But pretend play isn’t just fun. It’s also an important part of their development. By encouraging kids to play pretend, you’re actually helping them grow. Here’s why…

1. Pretend play improves language skills

Playing pretend requires kids to invent and act on scenarios. They tell stories, develop the narrative and practice turning their thoughts into works. They hear words and phrases all day long, but do not get the opportunity to practice them, so they make up those opportunities during play time.

This practice helps them pair the visualization in their mind with the actual word so they can speak faster and more clearly. As their language skills improve, they can create more dynamic and complex pretend scenarios, reinforcing the learning loop.

2. Pretend play develops self-control

Children are naturally born without self-control. They act on whatever they want. Pretend play gives your child opportunities to settle into a specific role (like a police offer, doctor or cowboy) and act on those behaviors. A cowboy wouldn’t write a speeding ticket and a police officer wouldn’t prep for surgery.

Kids need this practice so they can learn to separate their impulses and behave in the right manner for a particular situation. This prepares them for later in life when they have to drop in and out of different situations seamlessly (work, at home, out with friends, etc.).

3. Pretend play teaches problem-solving skills

While playing pretend, children approach situations they would never come across in real life. They’ll never have to scale a castle, slay a dragon and save a princess. But that simple game could teach them how to attack a problem.

It’s not what they learn, it’s how they learn. They’ll learn to approach problems with a solution-seeking mindset and come up with creative solutions.

4. Pretend play enhances social skills

Throughout a pretend scenario, a child is forced to consider the wants, needs and desires of the other characters: real or imaginary. They learn compassion, empathy and understanding. Shy kids can practice their social skills behind a “mask” (that is, a pretend role). Furthermore, in their scenarios, children often imagine themselves as adults, which give them practice in behaving like adults.

5. Pretend play makes education easy

It’s no secret that children learn better when they’re having fun. By tacking pretend play on to learning, parents and teachers can enhance the education experience. You could turn pretend grocery store play into lessons on economics, math, and the buying process. Playing pretend pirate ship can teach kids the value of working as a team, of being leaders and gross motor skills.

6. Pretend play helps people bond

If you look around at the people you’re close with, you’ll realize that that bond is built on shared experiences. When you grow apart from someone, it’s usually because you stopped experiencing things together. Kids are the same way. Their unique imaginative scenarios help build a close bond among the participants. If you let your kids play pretend together and even play with them, you can enhance everyone’s relationship.

Written by Eva Frecea, CEO sigikid-usa

sigikid is a family owned company whose roots back more than 150 years. sigikid’s German parent company “H. Scharrer & Koch GmbH” was founded in 1856. In 1910, Theo Köhler, the great-grandfather of sigikid’s current owner, took over and introduced toys. When the next generation took over in 1968, the trademark sigikid was born. Eva handles business development in the Americas, creating plush, educational and organic toys.

At sigikid, we put all our focus on playing. Our products are designed to make children happier. To achieve this, we use the most wholesome and important ingredients available: quality and love. sigikid toys are classic, innovative, prestigious, durable, soothing and affordable. We're playfully different!

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June 29, 2015 by Eva Frecea