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Make Believe: Imaginative Play is Good for the Mind
by The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association   |   January 29   |   0 Comments
Children -- especially young children-- learn by imagining and doing. We’ve all seen our kids grab a spoon, pretend it is a microphone and break out in spontaneous song.

Or watched that same child grab a salt shaker at the dinner table and make it ‘zoom across the spaghetti bowl’ like a flying superhero. In those moments, your child is using an object to represent something else while giving it action and motion. The pretend play is helping them organize their understanding and make sense of the world around them.

Imaginative play is crucial for developing emotional and social skills, problem-solving abilities and language skills. Creative play teaches kids how to make decisions and control their behavior. During creative "let's pretend" playtime, a child experiences new thoughts and feelings and begins to learn how to respond.

Want to encourage imaginative play in your home? Here are some tips:

1. Provide Access to “Make Believe” Materials: Cardboard boxes, scarves, wooden spoons -- in addition to all of the great toys that stimulate imaginative play -- every day household options can also spark a let’s pretend adventure. Make sure you child has access to a variety of safe materials and the time to play.

2. Role-Play: Get in on the pretend play action with your child. Be the audience for their ‘Broadway show.” Shop at their pop-up grocery store. By engaging with your child through play, you’re reinforcing that imaginative play is encouraged!

3. Start a Dress-Up Box: Nothing puts a child in a ‘let’s pretend’ mood faster than an ensemble change. Fill a box with dress-ups (old shirts, dresses, costume jewelry, halloween costumes, etc.) for them to play with at will.

4. Pint-Sized Imaginative Toys: Kid-sized kitchen and play food, doctor kits, tool benches -- the list goes on. Your local neighborhood toy store will have a wide variety of imaginative toys designed for children that encourage pretend play and stimulate your child’s interests.

5.Puppets: Homemade or store-bought, puppets are great tools for fostering imagination.

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