When people think of play, they automatically think of children engaging in physical exercises such as tag, ball games, or playing on slides and swings – in other words, kids exploring their physical environments. Play has been shown to be a key component in development in a child’s early years – even the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights has recognized it as a right for every child! But although physical play is the first thing that comes to mind, this is not the only kind of play. In fact, there is another type of play – imaginative or pretend play – that has caught the eye of many researchers, educators, and psychologists because of the many benefits it may provide.
According to Laura E. Berk, renowned professor and researcher in the field of child development, imaginative play stimulates the senses and generates opportunities for exploration and creative thinking that can help your little one improve various language, emotional, social, and cognitive skills – including creativity, impulse inhibition, and empathy!
Given the importance of pretend play, many parents may wonder at what age does pretend play start to emerge in children?