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Why Pretend Play Is Important to Child Development

Can’t we all remember what it was like to be a kid and play “make-believe”?

Nothing was more fun than pretending that we were young adventurers in an island treasure hunt, magic fairies with our trusty unicorn companion, or even famous chefs that ran our own restaurants.

It occurs so naturally that sometimes we don’t even stop to think about it, but did you know how extremely beneficial the power of imaginative play is for kids? By using their imagination, children are developing very important psychological and emotional abilities that help them understand the world and their relation to it.

By playing pretend, they learn to solve problems and create new possibilities daily. A 2013 study on “Pretend and Physical Play” observed that children who engage in imaginative play express more emotional engagement, thoughtfulness, and understanding while expressing less negative emotions such as selfishness and anger. They also scored higher on tests of emotional regulation and understanding.

And you know what the best part is? Children don’t need many tools or props to play pretend, anything can become something in the eyes of a child. It’s play at its easiest and most beneficial form Do you guys remember your favorite make-believe games growing up?

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