Backyard Discovery Blog
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Why it’s important for kids to make believe
The benefits of physical activity are widely understood and respected, but perhaps not as commonly known are the benefits of pretend play, or make believe. Make believe is when children act out stories or create worlds and characters that are not real. This type of play is critical to a child’s cognitive and social development.
Playing make believe benefits language skills. As kids create conversations between their toys or invent scenarios inside their children’s playhouse, they often experiment with language and words. By taking on the persona of a different person or character, a child learns to understand things from a perspective that is different from their own. Kids can learn to walk in someone else’s shoes which immensely aids in the development of social skills like empathy and respecting the feelings of others.
Make believe also helps kids learn to play well with others by taking turns, sharing responsibilities, and creative problem solving. For instance, in their world of make believe, a children’s playhouse becomes a kitchen where they are cooking food. The notion of pretending there is an oven, turning it on, and using it, improves their logical reasoning, which is essential in cognitive development.
Pretend play develops intellectual and reasoning skills a child will need throughout adulthood. It also fosters creativity which increases memory and concentration. In a world where creativity and problem solving are essential, it’s important to allow and encourage your kids to make believe.