Have you ever seen a child wield a stick as if it were a sword to duel with a knight? Or watched a youngster build a fantastic den with just a blanket thrown over a chair? This is play fuelled by pure imagination!
Children have the ability to create worlds of their own, where they can become Peter Pan, a pirate, a princess or even a dinosaur for the day. Imagination is the key to unlocking the door to these worlds, allowing kids to step out of reality and into fantasy.
Many parents wonder if this is the best use of their children's time. Shouldn't they be doing something more educational? Not only is it healthy, it’s a very important developmental milestone for children to engage in imaginative play. Besides making up their own play scenarios, children can learn a lot from reading or having their parents read them stories with plots and characters that make them think, ask questions, and use their imagination to become part of the story.
One thing a lot of children's books have in common is some sort of adversity; life’s not always easy and there are challenges for the characters to overcome. So there are some good lessons in there that parents can focus on with their children.
So, the next time you’re on the lookout for a new toy, choose something that sparks your child's imagination. Pretending is a fun and natural way for youngsters to explore their world and learn as they play.