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  • Writer's pictureAuthor - Angela Nettuno

The Importance of Pretend Play and Unstructured Play Opportunities

In today’s technological world with “screen time” on the rise, we cannot stress enough the importance for children to get “back to the basics” as much as possible, and just “play.”

Children learn important life skills by interacting with their peers in unstructured play settings without the direction of a parent or teacher. Socializing at the park or just playing in the neighborhood forces children to learn to share, compromise, work out problems, take turns, lose with grace, and deal with difficult children. These are skills that will be used throughout life in settings across the board from social events, to school and work environments. The sooner children learn these important social skills, the greater advantage they will have in life.

According to Piaget, after age 2 children develop the ability to think abstractly and can express themselves through writing/drawing, and pretend play. They are naturally creative creatures with imaginations that won’t quit. They can create amazing stories or drawings when given the opportunity. Pretend Play encourages social interaction as children converse while working together. It also gets their creative juices flowing which in turn stimulates their brains. For example, through pretend play children can learn important economic concepts by acting out businesses where goods and services can be exchanged for play money. Finally, puppet theaters and dress up stations encourage creativity as the child acts out an imaginary role. Role play develops social skills as children break out of their egocentric world and learn that others experience similar problems, emotions, and feelings.

So let your little ones draw, imagine, play and create! The sky’s the limit. Happy parenting… Enjoy the journey!


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