According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, imaginative play is essential in child development, as it is a critical element contributing to kids’ cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being.
Research shows that imaginative play is important in developing children’s social skills, self-control and emotional strength. Pump It Up surveyed a random selection of more than 350 parents across the country to find out more about how imagination thrives in the family home. Results revealed that 85 percent of parents said that participating in imaginative play is important for their children’s well-being, and in terms of importance ranked it a concern above obesity and even bullying.
So how can you encourage imaginative play in your home? The Save Childhood – Support Imagination Campaign has some suggestions!
Let your kids control
When playing with their kids, most parents fall into the trap of “encouraging” them to complete certain actions that “make sense.” If they ask you to take part in imaginative play, ask how or just follow their lead.
Have an Imagination Station
Sometimes, the most common objects make for the most fun. Remember your favorite cardboard box? Designate a space in your home, and fill it with different objects kids can use during their creative play.
Bring a buddy
Setup play dates! Kids that play pretend with their friends tend to talk more. This helps boost their vocabulary, improve sentence structure, and enhance communication skills.
Remember, there’s no “RIGHT” way to play
Play is supposed to be fun, limitless, and filled with joy. There are no “rules” in how to play–just go with the flow (as long as everyone is staying safe!)
Introduce role play
Role playing various scenarios at home can help your child work through fears or other problems they may be having.
Repurpose down time
Take advantage of down time and inspire your children to make up their own games to play in the car, waiting room, etc.
For more information on the Imagination Generation, check out this piece from the December/January 2012 issue of KIWI. Then, in the comments section below, tell us any tips you have for keeping your children creative!