imagine me!!! The ” Power” of Pretend Play
Most Moms will tell you that the sweetest and realist “Mom Moments” happened the first time they happened to catch their child pretending to “Be the Mommy” with their baby doll! For most, it’s a moment that stands out in time! For me? Remembering how I couldn’t help but smile and then? How it really made me think? I couldn’t wait to see what my daughter would think of next! How would create her “own house”? What role would she choose for herself? And who would she pretend to be? The Mom. Nana. Auntie? Would she pretend to be a Teacher? A Doctor or even an Astronaut?
Carefully standing back so as not to interrupt her play. I was as quiet as I could be! Using my quiet, stealth-like moves. I stood there holding my breath, hoping that she would pretend to be a mommy just like me! I seemed to lose my breath wondering what she was going to say next!! Would she be kind? Quiet or Loud? And then it came to me like a ton of bricks being dropped on my head.
There was so much happening for her in that teeny tiny little moment in time! Actually for both of us, because it really made me think? My daughter was learning and so was I! For me, the moment was a tiny window. A chance to see how my role as a parent was impacting her. Watching my daughter in control. Defining her role as “ Mommy” to her baby! Amazing Stuff Right There!
Learning takes place on so many levels as our children imagine, create and explore the world around them. Recognizing all of the good stuff that is packed into pretend play is the first step to valuing the experience for your little one! Decades of research has continually shown this to be true. The Benefits to Children’s Healthy Development are many and have stood the test of time. Pretend Play is good for children! So put on your Super Mom Cape and Let’s shop about it! It’s Good For Grown Ups too!
Through Pretend Play Children begin to make sense of the world around them. Pretend Play sets the stage for children to explore their likes and dislikes. My daughter enjoyed going to McDonald’s since it was often the place she imagined she and her “ babies” would go! Today, she’s a proud Vegan! Guess you could say her tastes have changed! Pretend Play gives your child the chance to make sense of what they are seeing and experiencing. What’s most often seen as children play with their “ babies”. Imitating, feeding, dressing, changing and all that wonderful day to day stuff that they see us modeling for them. Is just proof your child is watching you! Looking for their place in the world by learning about roles within the family, community, and even in the workplace.
All of the people, places, and things in their world on display as they imagine who it is they want to be! What it is they will be doing? Who will be with them on their imaginary journey to self? And where this adventure begins and ends! Such Complex Planning and Practice! Higher-level thinking is happening right in front of your eyes in real-time! Planning. Preparing. Negotiating with real friends and imaginary ones too! Real Learning in a Fantasy Setting! Think about it? Problem Solving is baked into the experience as they consider their future about roles and tasks. Little ones will adapt and change the experience as new ideas take shape on the fly! That is what it’s all about!
Adapting and Changing in real-time helps children organize what’s happening and adjust. Flexible thinking and Conflict Resolution are essential life skills that children navigate in pretend play. How your little one deals with challenging ideas or conflicts is how children work through these challenges. Creating. Inventing. Cooperating. Negotiating is all right there! With your little ones the Directors of their own Movies!
If you watch carefully and listen closely you can see and hear some of their innermost thoughts and fears! Just watching as young children are playing Dr.’s Office. Almost Always Someone will be getting Shots! Your child is working through some pretty big scary emotions. Roleplay allows these experiences to become less confusing or frightening. And for them? More predictable! When young children can work through what’s going on and what comes next we help them feel safe and secure. Pretend play helps young children work through big life events. Like divorce, loss/death, illness, and tragedy.
Learning doesn’t happen in isolation for young children. They are taking in new information, sorting, meaning-making and practicing new skills at the same time! Make-Believe Play helps children to mix it all together! Like when children play “Going to The Grocery Store”. They are practice labeling, sorting, and classifying! As they group similar foods, work together as they assign roles. Explore math concepts, as they assign prices and exchange money. Organize the store by grouping similar foods together. And literacy and print recognition as they make signs for items in the store!
See.. Minis on The Move: Shopping is School for Toddlers for more helpful tips!