Guest Post – Why Pretend Play Is Important

I am sure you have all heard it – some of you have maybe said it – “he is a boy and shouldn’t be playing with dolls” and “why is she dressed as a pirate and not a princess?“. To say it is one of the things that riles me is an understatement!

After working with children for over ten years, the importance of pretend play (and not enforcing gender stereotypes on our children) is very clear to me. Some parents don’t understand it though, or don’t see it as an important part of learning and think teaching them numbers is much more vital. This short piece explains the importance of learning through play and especially, pretend play – hope you enjoy!

The Importance of Pretend Play

It goes without saying that pretend play is a crucial component of a child’s growth. Children learn by imagining, doing, and observing.

We typically imagine that “play time” consists of sprinting around the playground and blowing off steam in between lessons or relaxing with a few quality toys to mess about with. Although these types of play are significant in and of themselves, they are not the only kinds.

A number of academics have highlighted the benefits of pretend or imaginative play as a crucial contributor to a child’s healthy development, and learning via play is now widely acknowledged by practitioners as an essential approach to learning and development for young children.

Children can be seen playing imaginatively in any Early Years setting and throughout Primary Schools. They might zoom a piece of paper around the room like it’s a racing car or a flying aeroplane, or they might pretend to be a firefighter in their engine, a shopkeeper, a parent, a dentist, or a nurse.

Rachel Gibbons on behalf of Wood Bee Nice had this to say: “Early pretend play has been shown to have significant advantages, including the development of a child’s capacity for cognitive flexibility and, eventually, creativity.”

“Children may assign roles to themselves and others and then act them out, or they may use items to symbolise different things. Although it may appear to be relatively straightforward, these kids are actually learning and developing a variety of vital life skills by overcoming the constraints of reality.”

“This “pretend play” enables the adoption of many viewpoints, and is an important aspect of a child’s social and cognitive development.”


Work Bench

Coffee Machine

Dentist Set

Hollywood Film Camera

These are a few of my faves from the Wood Bee Nice website – aren’t they so beautifully made?! At the time of writing they have a sale on too, so do go on over via one of the links and check out the other products and the bargains you can grab!

Does your little one enjoy pretend play or did your older children when they were little? I remember Leo loved all things Thomas The Tank Engine and we’d have tracks running all over the house! Riley enjoyed it too but had a very set story in his head, so if he would let you play, you’d have to follow his very strict instructions! Let me know about yours in the comments below!

Take care and have a great week,

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