We often see our Little Ones imagining Themselves as Someone else - Why is Pretend Play Important for Kids?

Rob Sutherland

Posted on February 12 2016

Pretend Play for Kids

There is a reasonable body of research regarding the importance of pretend play for kids. The general consensus from the child development professionals is that pretend play is an important factor for childrens development. It is interesting for parents to know some of the common issues related to pretend play.

Lavendar House - Doll House

Dolls House - Bokkie Kids

What is Pretend Play?

What is it that makes pretend play not the same as other play?  Karen Stagnitti, an Australian Occupational Therapist and child play expert gives us some answers and says there are three specific attributes for Pretend Play.

  1. Children use objects as a different item. Good examples are a stick used as sword or gun, and a bucket as a hat. Four years old kids will often use any object instead of the real item.  Whether it looks like the original item appears to be irrelevant.
  2. Children will give properties to things - sleeping doll, crying doll, magic wand.
  3. Children can use objects that are not actually there. It is common to play with invisible things be in pretend places. Magical places and fairies are a especially fascinating for kids and adults.

Why is it important for Kids to have pretend play?

Some benefits of pretend play for kids are also outlined in KiddyCharts a leading blog/website within the parenting community..

Social Skills 

It is widely accepted that success at school is influenced in a positive way by childrens skills in interacting effectively with peer group and adults.Developing social skills is critical for kids in all facets of life.

Pretend play allows kids to practice verbal and non-verbal communication skills. They need to agree roles and situations when setting up imaginary places and people. They need to develop the social skills in order to cooperate with others. 

Communication skills

Pretending to be someone else means kids need to practice words they hear from others. This activity allows vocabulary and language skills to be developed. Cooperating with others is need in imaginary games and kids need to listen to others to fit into the game. Pretend play therefore encourages good listening skills and perseverance.

Cognitive development 

In pretend play children recall events from the past. They will create scenes from their experience and practice solving problems that are can be involved in these pretend scenes. Pretend play toys such as dolls houses and kids furniture are great for kids to recreate life in play world. The cognitive skills being developed from pretend play include:

  • observing,
  • discovering 
  • carrying out deductive reasoning,

Pretend play is critical for cognitive skills development and giving children the ability to solve problems and draw conclusions.

Physical development

Pretending to be someone else is quite often very physically demanding. Spiderman, for example is a very active sort of guy. A ballerina is no one if she is not dancing. Robin Hood really does needs top shelf eye hand coordination (see below).



Help your kids develop and really have some fun with pretend play toys from Bokkie Kids


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