Pretend Play: Why Your Preschooler’s Brain Needs It & Ways to Spark Your Child’s Interest
One of the single, best activities for your preschooler’s brain is pretend play. Although hosting a bear tea party or tying on a cape to save a friend from “bad guys” may appear as “fun,” pretend play activities develop a wealth of important skills in a child’s brain. To learn more about pretend play and its benefits to the brain, keep reading. You’ll also gather ideas on how to use household items to enhance your child’s pretend play experiences.
Pretend Play Develops Planning and Organizational Skills: Although some of the activities in pretend play seem to be invented on the spot, planning and organization skills are working inside a preschooler’s brain.
Pretend Play Builds Important Brain Pathways
- Pretend Play Develops Abstract Thinking Skills: In order to read, write, or solve math equations, a child’s brain must use abstract thinking skills. For example, the brain must know that a circle represents the letter “o.” A similar symbol, a “zero” represents a quantity in math. To use abstract thinking, a child’s brain has to understand that symbols can represent a larger concept. When a child uses a hairbrush as a telephone, a microphone, or a conductor’s baton, the child’s brain has demonstrated that an object or symbol can be used as another object or concept.
- Pretend Play Develops Social Skills, such as Empathy: The skill of empathy, experiencing another person’s feelings requires that we look at the world from the other person’s point of view. During pretend play, children assume the role of another person or character. This change in roles offers children practice in experiencing the world from another person’s point of view.
- Pretend Play Develops Problem Solving Skills: Pretend play presents countless opportunities for children to solve problems and conflicts and this problem solving is a skill that builds numerous new pathways in the brain.
- Pretend Play Develops Planning and Organizational Skills: Although some of the activities in pretend play seem to be invented on the spot, planning and organization skills are working inside a preschooler’s brain. While playing store, one child may decide, “I need money” and will need to search the play space for items that can represent money.