“Let’s pretend” is an invitation to learning and fun that goes far beyond kindergarten readiness; it’s a complex and powerful tool for thinking and creativity. It’s also today’s play-of-the day that starts with a p because A pril starts with a p. Pretending and imagining do not end with childhood, that’s where they begin! Just like other skills and abilities they get better with practice.
While pretending and imagining are necessary for fantasy, they are also important in reality. As a parent, have you ever asked your child something like “What might happen if you just run without looking?” We ask the child to imagine what could happen so s/he does not do that again. Also, when we ask kids how they might feel if someone grabs a toy away, kids again need to use their imaginations. Both safety and empathy need imagination and pretending.
Did you know when children pretend, even though the action is only taking part in their brains, that their bodies respond? When children pretend they are going up in an elevator all the way to the sky, their eyes go up. When they pretend they are flying the muscles in the arms move. Meanwhile, back in the brain, new pathways and connections are being formed.
Kids can use all kinds of items for pretend play. Old clothes and empty boxes are favorites, but pretending can even be done without anything. Recycling has a whole new dimension when it comes to using items for pretend play. Plus, it can be done both inside or outside. For kids that can’t sleep, it sometimes works if they just pretend. Pretend play can also help children cope with stress and fears. Sometime today, can you invite your child to “Let’s pretend”…?