One of my favorite things to do with my daughter is to play “dress-up”. We put a special section in her play area for costumes that is like a small closet with it’s own sturdy hang bar. We also have always had a “costume bin” with hats, boas, wigs, and more. When I was contacted by the company,Great Pretenders to do a post about the benefits of pretend play, I was excited to share my love of imaginative play. They provided me with the research information that confirmed what I’d always known, as I’m sure you do, as a mom.
According to licensed child psychologist Dr. Laurie Zelinger, “It fosters the imaginative processes, and allows for play without rules or script. Dress up allows for experimentation, role play and fantasy.“
Five Major Benefits of Pretend Play
1. Social and Emotional Skills
Dress up allows for experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life. Through cooperative play, children learn societal rules such as how to take turns, share responsibility, and creatively problem-solve. Character play means that the child is “walking in someone else’s shoes” and it encourages teamwork along with an interest in peers. Since children see the world from their own point of view, cooperative play helps them understand the feelings of others.
2. Language Skills
Pretend play requires children to invent and tell stories and since almost all children narrate their pretend play experiences, they train their minds to transform ideas into words. Children usually mimic words and ideas from parents, teachers, daycare or what they hear on TV. This repetition builds vocabulary and helps kids visualize what they say, especially when adults offer feedback to help kids better understand the words they use. This also helps make the connection between spoken and written language — a skill that will later help them to read.
Young kids typically have little self-control. During pretend play, children have to take a role and play within those boundaries, especially when other kids are involved. Studies show that children control their impulses significantly better during pretend play than at other times. Did you ever wonder why parents often make up a game to get their children to eat their vegetables or finish chores? Transforming an unappealing task into a make-believe game is a popular trick among clever parents and educators.
4. Problem Solving Skills
Pretend play also provides your child with a variety of problems to solve. Whether it’s the logistics of sharing toys or a pretend problem the children are escaping from, the child calls upon important cognitive thinking skills that he or she will use in every aspect of his or her life, now and forever. Through these role plays, children become more comfortable and prepared for life events in a safe way. By practicing problem solving in an artificial environment, kids are better prepared to think of creative solutions to their own real-life problems
By giving your child complete control in their pretend world and accepting them as a silly character, you are enhancing their self-esteem. While they use their own initiative to develop story lines, their creative imagination to expand stories and their own personality to choose a character they enjoy, you are enhancing their self-esteem by allowing them complete power in the world & enjoying it with them. Kate Muddiman, Creative Director, Great Pretenders puts it this way, “Confidence is brought about in children by the realization that they have the ability to be anybody they want in this life and accomplish anything they desire. Our goal at Great Pretenders is to help kids achieve that level of confidence and to start young.”
Great Pretenders is celebrating over 25 years of striving to provide the best value, while being innovative and fun. For example, all of their products are easy care with maximum sizing flexibility so they will last your child as long as the memories they make. Reversible costumes and capes offer a two-for-one option that has won several acclaimed toy awards.