The Top 3 Benefits of Pretend PlayCaroline Fenton
A little piece about the goodness of wooden toys and the wonder of imaginative play… from the lovely Fern at TeaCupKids. Home to the wooden nail polish set… a fabulous eco-friendly toy for encouraging hand eye coordination, fine motor skills and encouraging correct pencil grip too. Ah-mazing!! Read on for her thoughts behind the benefits of play…
The Top 3 Benefits of Pretend Play
Play is something in which all humans engage, although the purpose for and the type of play may be different across ages and cultures. Children need to play to develop social, emotional, cognitive (thinking) and physical skills. Play helps children to learn how to communicate with other children, resolve conflicts and solve problems. In a playful environment, they are able to test, practice and refine these abilities or skills, all of which are essential to build a strong foundation for all future learning. The development of a positive sense of self is promoted through early play experiences because there are no wrong or right ways to do things. This freedom from rules helps children to feel confident and competent as learners as well as teachers of others.
1. Play Encourages Communication
Play allows children the opportunity to develop speech and language skills as well listening skills. Children talk and listen while they play. Whether this be during solitary play which typically involves self-talk and narration (e.g. “now I am painting my nails pink”) or play with a companion, children communicate to add purpose to their play. The more vocabulary a child is exposed to on a day-to-day basis, the greater the variety of words a child will incorporate into play.
2. Play Improves Cognitive Development
Children who engage in pretend play tend to have more sophisticated levels of interaction with others. In research, more and more evidence supports the connections between cognitive ability and high quality pretend play. Moreover, if children are deprived of play, their long-term capabilities related to problem solving, social skills and academic areas (e.g. literacy, math and science) could be lessened.
3. Play Encourages Relationship Building
Play helps to promote the development of social skills. Children who play with their parents and peers learn how relationships work through their play experiences. As play becomes more important in a child’s life, an increase in the number and quality of friendships has been seen.
Many people don’t realise that social skills are a vital part of language development. Language is so much more than simply spoken words!
Why Go Wooden?
Wooden toys play an important role in play based learning. Modern high-tech toys are designed to amuse and distract children and are often noisy and over stimulating. Wooden toys tend to inspire creative and imaginative play in children. The natural textures of wooden toys stimulate the child’s senses as they invite children to touch, feel and explore.
Wooden toys are durable so they last longer than plastic toys and therefore there is less waste. By giving a child a wooden toy you are not contributing to the environmental damage associated with the making of plastics, electronics or batteries, thereby also protecting the child’s future. Wooden toys don’t need electricity, software updates or someone to show you how to work all the buttons and features!
And lastly, wooden toys come with their own aesthetic appeal. Those with vibrant colours can add positive energy to the learning process, even if they’re just sitting on a shelf. Those in a raw or plain wood colour can help make a room look calm and organised.
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