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The benefits of pretend play

 
Pretend play is an essential part of growing up, and as adults, it’s important for us to encourage toddlers and preschoolers to give it a go. Pretend play comes with many benefits too and helps develop a child’s creativity, recreate social relationships and learn how to get along with others. It’s also necessary developmentally too, being like a ‘rite of passage’ as a child gets older.
Pretend play is an essential part of growing up, and as adults, it’s important for us to encourage toddlers and preschoolers to give it a go.

Pretend play comes with many benefits too and helps develop a child’s creativity, recreate social relationships and learn how to get along with others.

It’s also necessary developmentally too, being like a ‘rite of passage’ as a child gets older.


The benefits of pretend play


So why is pretend play so important for toddlers and preschoolers and why should we be encouraging them to participate in pretend play?

Is it so they will grow their imaginations, help build positive social relationships or develop conflict resolution skills? Yes, yes and yes! These are all great benefits of pretend play for toddlers and preschoolers.

As adults, we use our imaginations all the time. From creating new products and solving problems to helping us enjoy a movie and understanding the perspectives of others. This is due to having participated in imaginary play during our childhoods.

When engaging in imaginative play, toddlers and preschoolers can play alone or with others. Try not to guide or direct them, but rather let them take the game how they would like to.

Praise them when they try experimenting with new ways to play with and use toys and other objects. Try to encourage them to use their imaginations as they play too.
 

6 Toys to encourage pretend play


Here are 6 toys that are great for toddlers and preschoolers to use to help encourage pretend play:
 
1. Building blocks

While many building block sets come with instructions on how to build something specific, it’s also fun for toddlers and preschoolers to create their own things with them too.
 
2. Dress up clothes

Playing dress ups gives toddlers and preschoolers ideas to become anyone or anything they want. They are great for encouraging reluctant little ones to experiment, especially when Mum or Dad join in!
 
3. Cardboard boxes

Okay, so they’re not exactly toys, but cardboard boxes are so much fun! Easily adaptable, they can be transformed into anything. They’re great for drawing on, hiding in and building all sorts of creations.
 
4. Cooking toys

One of the ways toddlers and preschoolers learn is through imitation and playing with cooking toys is always a favourite. Pretending to cook someone a meal or doing the dishes is great fun. Maybe even set up a pretend kitchen for them to use.
 
5. Push toys

Being able to take care of a doll or teddy by pushing them around in a pram or even on a car greatly appeals to young children. They are also helpful when a toddler is learning how to walk too.
 
6. Vehicles

Cars, trucks, boats and planes can travel to different areas of the world, do tricks and take on their own personalities. Racing car drivers, police officers and firefighters all use vehicles!

Source: This article was kindly written for us by Kidzstuffonline – Toys for every budget, age and stage.
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