5 Reasons Why Role Play Is Important For Kids
As we expand our range of pretend play toys, I'd like to share with you my top 5 discoveries on the importance of role play for children. Role play:
1: Encourages creativity and imagination
Pretend play helps children naturally develop and use their cognitive abilities and skills. Through using their imagination regularly, they develop creativity and learn to think for themselves. In a society where we are so keen on school results, it’s even more important to create a space where children are free to express themselves and live in a magical realm of possibility. I love this quote below, it helps me to let go of my pre-conceived ideas of knowledge:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Albert Einstein
2: Fosters social and emotional development
Empathy is developed though role play. Children learn to sympathise and understand certain emotional situations. When children pretend to be someone else, or use objects as something else, they are experimenting with different social situations as well as different emotions. They learn how to interact, cooperate and collaborate with each other in order to play. It’s a safe environment for them to express themselves and overcome anxieties or fears.
3: Improves communication and language
Children are amazing at picking up words we use or that they have heard through teachers, friends and other adults. Pretend play helps to understand the power of language and how to use these words in various scenarios. It also encourages them to listen to what is being said. I have often tried not too laugh when my little one uses such adult words in the right context, such as ‘I am so frustrated’. She does not know exactly what it means but she understands the emotion. You can create all sorts of fun play scenarios and encourage your little ones to use new words associated with the task at hand, like being at the train station, travelling or shopping.
4: Develops thinking, learning & problem solving skills
The very nature of imaginative play means that children will have to decide what they are going to play, with whom, what the rules are, what they need in order to play or what to do when something goes wrong - all of this needs cognitive thinking. A skill they will use for the rest of their lives. You can also use props, such as pretend food, books, coins to help your child learn about healthy eating, numeracy and literacy.
5: Supports physical development
Running, jumping, climbing, pretending to be Vikings on a quest to discover new lands or pirates fighting, pretend play is often physical and a great way to develop motor skills. Even the simple act of changing a doll's dress, braiding hair, using coins, dishing up pretend food aides the development of fine motor skills.