The Benefits of Imaginative Play
As babies grow into toddlers, imaginations naturally expand. Typically this is the age where we see tots imitate and mimic adults around them and characters they've become familiar with. Whether it's imitating mom or dad, or pretending to be a cartoon superhero, it's no secret that imaginative play allows toddlers and children overall to take on different roles as they see fit!
So What Incorporates Imaginative Play?
Well, the truth is that it honestly doesn't take much outside of encouragement and lots of it!
For toddlers imaginative play promotes gross motor development, this means that they will grow curious enough to want to touch and get into anything and everything that catches interest which is why providing a safe play environment is important. During the toddler phase climbing, jumping, and balancing acts all come with rapid speed. Suddenly tots want to fly, and go faster! All indicative of your child taking the right steps to build their self esteem but potentially dangerous if you're not supervising closely. While you shouldn't be restrictive to the point that rules prohibit your child from pretending to be _____, you should create safe havens for them to act out whatever it is that they're into at the time (within reason) and there should always be close adult supervision involved. "Safety first" should always be your mission when it comes to your child.
Cheering on your child and showing enthusiasm is always a win during active games as it builds self esteem and lets them know that you are equally involved. A child's confidence can be easily hindered without realizing and these are often gateways that lead to other insecurities, so it's important that during all acts of imaginative play, that you remain your child's biggest fan and supporter. Teaching lessons during playtime, while encouraging cheering on your child as they demonstrate their understanding of concepts is always a great thing.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
While I'm a big fan of outdoor play to keep children active and socially engaged within their communities, indoor play doesn't have to be boring! Want to see a child get an instant boost of confidence? Throw a cape on them or costume and watch the magic happen!
Incorporation of costumes in addition to toys, allows children to morph into characters, while feeling even more true to what they're pretending to be since they're dressed for it! Another great way to add variety is through music. Toy musical instruments are great for teaching tots rhythm, coordination, and components of a song. Arts and crafts will always be a fool-proof go-to as well, since it encourages creativity. It's important to always remember that there's never a wrong way to paint, draw, color or create anything when it comes to arts and crafty projects. Always allow your child to create as they please!
What are some of your favorite playtime pastimes with you tot? Let us know in the comments!