Imaginary play - is it a good thing?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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