Tuesday, 8 May 2012

How Pretend Play affects your Child's Brain

Pretend Play - An effective tool for cognitive development
Let me first tell you what cognitive development in early childhood means and how it is associated with pretend play in children.
Cognitive Development:It is the changing process of perception,thought and learning that starts from infancy to adulthood and thee abilities are associated with reasoning,problem-solving and memory.
Young children discover new things by manipulating toys and various objects while playing and while doing so they are developing  mathematical thinking, language and social skills.

Pretend Play and Child's Magical World of Imagination
Parents know that play is a vital component for optimal development of children but most of them are unaware of the power of pretend play.Pretend play is the cornerstone of a child's world where he is free to explore numerous possible combinations of emotions and ideas.Science has confirmed that such type of play has important positive effects on child's learning abilities.Since it involves role taking and improvisation it helps in cognitive development in the child's early years.Child's language and social skills too are built through such play.Some studies have also associated pretend play with certain cognitive strategies like problem solving,self-regulation and understanding rules.

What Children Learn
  • Builds Courage
  • Promotes Social Skills
  • Teaches Language and Communication Skills
  • Develops Problem solving abilities
  • Helps Emotional Development
  • Boosts Confidence and Self-Esteem
  • Develops Abstract Thinking
  • Helps visualize things through imagination
  • Builds Leadership Qualities
How Parents Can Encourage
  • Choose a Theme-Give him a theme.You can talk to your child about his super-hero ,imaginary character or anything that excites him and play some games with him.You can also give your child a situation and ask him how he would like to react if his super-hero wanted your child's help.
  • Inspire- Your job is to convey the child a sense of involvement, but remember to step back once the play is underway.Let your child imagine and play in his own direction.
  • Time and Space-Choose a play space for your child where he can play as long as he wants to without you asking him to pick up and organize toys.Let him create a little mess so that his imagination can run wild.
  • Give some Props-Provide your child with various toys,blocks ,empty boxes and costumes of super heroes.He can also play with his favorite hat o sunglasses.
  • Do Not Interrupt-This is very important.Resist all urges to interrupt your child's play and never try to clear up the space or try to fix things while he is playing.
There is enough evidence to support the various connections of pretend play and cognitive development.Children who do not get the opportunity to experience such play might show delayed progress in certain academic areas like mathematics, science and literature.These children may also show diminished multidimensional skills.Hence,parents must encourage and provide a rich environment to stimulate the brain of young children.