The Need of Pretend Play in Child Development

I still reminiscence the time of my childhood where some days I pretended to be a writer and there were also days when I pretended to be an actor or an anchor. I am sure that you would all agree with me that childhood is the best time as we could be anything we wished. It was the time when all of us were so naive, not having a care in the world.

Childhood has taken me down the memory lane where I can still remember the times when every time I went out shopping with my mom, I always insisted her on buying me kitchen sets so that in the evening I could have my own lavish tea parties with my friends. Whereas if I talk about boys around me (usually my cousins or friends) they always loved portraying their favorite superhero simply by getting their hands-on the towel and tying it around their back as a cape and pretending to save the world.

Little did I know that the role-played during those times would play such an important part in helping me in choosing my career prospect (i.e. a content writer). All these make-believe plays really helped me in knowing my interest, I can say so as from the childhood times I have been inclined towards writing, be it poetry or essays.

So, pretend play helps in not only shaping the personalities of an individual but also helps in developing other skills that I will be discussing in this article further.

Without much further ado, let’s discuss them one by one.

Social-Emotional Skills

While you think that your kiddo is fooling around and pretending to be someone else that is the time when your little one is actually experimenting with various social-emotional roles of life. When kids are playing in a group, for instance, while one person role-plays as a doctor in the group, the other friends opt for different roles of a patient, nurse, and others. It is through this co-operative pretend play that kids will not only mature, but will also enhance their self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-control. There are other games like cricket, basketball, etc., where kids learn that it’s okay to lose and be happy if the other team wins and sometimes it’s okay to give your turn to someone. It is through playing such games, little ones learn how to compromise while interacting socially. Also, through such games, they intentionally or unintentionally enhance their social-emotional skills and learn how to be a responsible individual plus learn empathy.

Communication Skills

Have you ever caught your baby girl conversing with their soft toy or pretending to be on a phone call with their friend? If yes, then you would have probably heard them imitating you or using the phrases that you must be hearing it for the first time or you thought they never knew. Talking on the phone or with friends all requires skill for creating scenarios, moreover skills to narrate them in a similar manner the way they heard it. In doing so they tend to repeat the same thing again and again during the narration, and every time they find themselves speaking wrong, they correct themselves, which helps them build their grammar and speaking skills.

Make-believe play is the one that allows your kid to understand the language by re-enacting a story, this is how they learn the words, their pronunciation and understand their meaning.

Cognitive Skills

Make-believe play is the only game wherein there are a lot of opportunities for children to think out of the box and expand their cognitive skills. Every time when they are planning for some role-play it requires a lot of mind grinning for choosing and finalizing the role that they want to pretend play that day. Role-playing is the time, where kids recreate scenes from the past that they either have seen on the telly or have experienced in the past.

Let me quote an instance here, as a kid whenever I used to get ready for the pretend tea-party at my place, I used to decorate the table with the plastic kitchen set with all enthusiasm. Then, after doing that I would grab one beautiful duppatta from my mom’s wardrobe and drape around me like a Saree and then without letting her know would use her lipstick and imitate her actions, words, laughter with my friends in the pretend-play tea party.

Overall Development

Besides psychological, language and social-emotional benefits, pretend play also helps in the physical development of the kids. When kids try to role-play as a doctor, an engineer, a gymnast, an athlete, a dancer, an officer chasing the thieves or imitating sitting on a horse and galloping across the fields, all these activities involve being physically active, hand-eye coordination and other skills. While doing all this, kids may tumble down, scratch themselves a little bit, but don’t worry this will only make them stronger and give a sense of do’s and don’ts. Moreover, all these sports will not only be enjoyed by the kids, but will also help in the overall development without even realizing.

Final Word

Pretend play is the only game that keeps the little one curious and gives them the courage to become anyone they have ever seen or pretended to be. Make-believe play contributes in boosting the imagination of the little ones and allows them to bring out their innermost desires and fantasies. Hence, helping in the development of kids at various levels, be it imaginative, social-emotional, cognitive or we can say in the overall development of the little ones.