As children develop, one of the most important aspects of play for the development of cognition is pretend play. Children should be allowed to engage in pretend play in the home, or school setting, to enhance their cognitive thinking. Let’s examine cognitive thinking. Cognitive thinking may include: the action of learning, attention, memory, language, decision making.
What is Pretend Play?
It is important for the term Pretend Play to be defined, in this manner parents; teachers, and other adults will be able to provide children with the right materials to engage in pretend play. Pretend Play is when a child engages in make believe. For example, children can make believe, by:
- Playing house: children engage in giving each other roles. If a little boy is present, he will be assigned to play the part of dad. One child will be given the part of baby, and of course another part of mom, as so on. These children use their imagination and experiences in their own home to play “home”; cooking, cleaning, correcting the baby, etc.
- Playing store: children engage in giving each other roles in a store setting. One child shops, another is the cashier.
- One of my personal favorites: Playing Jurassic Park. Children engage inJurassicParkroles. Children may use a swing set as prop of a car, and bushes, flowers, rocks, as dinosaurs. One child may be a tour guide and the rest his/her audience.
Why is Pretend Play so important for children to engage in?
Hughes, emphasized that when children engage in different roles, they learn social skills, like communication, problem solving and empathy. Skills just as language, creativity, and emotions are all practiced and enhanced during the process of pretend play. Children learn the positive aspects of situations as well as the negative aspects of situations while they are pretending to play “real-life”. Without even knowing it, children are learning to be professionals, dads, moms, students, workers, teachers, etc.
Where can a child engage in Pretend Play?
Children begin to engage in Pretend Play around 12-15 months as children begin to imitate what their father or mother and siblings are doing. At age 3 pretend play becomes more detailed and more complex. At age 12-15 months most children are at home or at child care. It is important for child care providers to encourage and provide toys for pretend play. As the child hits age 3, they will be most likely be attending some kid of preschool. Preschools provide many tools and activities for pretend play. This is where the child’s pretend levels will skyrocket.
Toys parents can use for their children
Toys enhance children and their play settings. For those parents looking for toys to enhance their child’s pretend play, here is a list of those toys that promote pretend play:
- tea sets
- kitchens, BBQ sets
- school sets (chalk boards, desk)
- music toys
- pretend animals
- outside toys (swing sets, lawn mowers, gardening tools)
- play houses
- brooms, vacuums
- tool sets
In the efforts to make sure our children succeed, pretend play will take one of the most important impacts on their cognitive development. Providing your child with the best and most important tools for success can be as easy as playing with your child.
- Pretend Nap Time (mrmomman.wordpress.com)
- The Gift of Play: Children With Cognitive Delays (children.webmd.com)
- Take 15 mins a day to act like a child! (zemameyteypema.wordpress.com)
- The Great Pretender (livingingraceland.wordpress.com)
- Teaching Your Child With Special Needs (amazus.org)