“Pretend play” is probably one of the most over used words to describe what children do on a daily basis. Perhaps the best definition for pretend play is that it includes “conventional and imaginative play” in children’s lives.
Pretend play is linked to so many areas of learning. In pretend play, there are links to language, math, abstract thought, problem solving, and story creation. Social, emotional, and cognitive skills are all used within the group. This is the way that young children learn by doing, and exercising their imagination. Through pretend play, children learn many essential life skills.
Learning social and emotional skills
Social and emotional roles are also aided by pretend play, and children learn to experiment with roles. Cooperation with peers and playmates is also an essential element of pretend play. Cooperation means living peacefully with others, sharing responsibility, avoiding conflicts, and problem solving. When children indulge in pretend play, they usually assume the role of diverse characters. In other words, they would be assuming someone else’s role to perform certain tasks which eventually assist them in learning how others behave and act. This would help them in mastering the skills of showing empathy. Empathy means learning how others feel and how we respond to other people’s pain and anguish. Pretend play also helps children in mastering the art self control and managing emotions. Another advantage is building self-esteem.
Mastering language skills
While pretend playing, children are more likely to utter some words and phrases whose meanings are only known to them and their friends. These words are the building blocks for learning language skills. Pretend play also involves mimicking parents, relatives, teachers, peers and others who play an important role in children’s daily life. Children also learn in what manner they can use certain words and phrases to give a broader meaning to the context of the play. Spoken and written language is entirely different and pretend play may help children understand the difference between both of these words. When a connection is established, children would also learn how to read and write.