How Important is Pretend Play in Childhood Development?

More often we see our kids pretend to be doctors, drivers, pilots or other professionals and assume that it is just a normal stage in every child’s life. One fact remains that kids learn much better by imagining who they want to be and acting it out. They will take a spoon and drive it across the table, assuming it is a car, a boat or anything they can imagine. While doing this will keep him or her busy, it is important to know that pretend play is vital in your child’s development. Studies have shown that encouraging pretend play in a child’s life, especially those in pre-school enhances their curiosity, imaginativeness as well as learning skills.

To understand what this means, here are the benefits of pretend play in childhood development

1. Enhances problem-solving skills

More often when kids engage in pretend play, they encounter a lot of things that need solutions. They have to figure out how to act, react or respond to several situations that require patience as well as problem-solving skills. They need to be able to define the problem before them to figure out a solution that will work. They are often forced to come up with several possible solutions to select the one that might work best. Even though they often make many mistakes while trying to learn how to solve problems, being able to figure out several possible answers make them better thinkers.

2. Boosts their self-awareness

Most children who end up having a hard time dealing with low self-esteem are never sure of who they are. Often, they are never aware of what makes them better than others or their weaknesses and dislikes. Pretend play is one of the ways your kids can learn who they are, what they can do better and what they can’t. For example, when driving a spoon assuming it is a car, your kid will try to think of himself as the driver. If the game is not exciting, it is unlikely that he will play it again. Instead, he will look for something that he can play for a long time without getting bored.

3. Improve language

If you try to listen to your kids pretend play, it is likely you will hear them say words you’ve never heard them say before. Most probably, they will repeat words they hear from you, other people in your house, neighbors or their favorite TV characters. One fact is, kids, are very accurate imitators and if they decide to mimic your talking style, they will sound like you. Pretend play makes it easy for a child to grasp the meaning of words easily. He or she also gets to learn how to combine the words to come up with creative play. Also, it makes it easy for your kid to link spoken words to written words that are vital to reading and writing.

4. Develop their social skills

In life, you can’t live happily and achieve your goals without knowing how to socialize with others or how to react to situations that impact your life. More often, you will find yourself quarreling or fighting over something that could have been solved simply by talking. One unfortunate fact is, this is one thing you can’t teach a child unless he is willing to learn by himself. Through pretend play, kids learn how to recognize and control their emotions as well as how to socialize with others.


As you can see, pretend play plays a significant role in your child’s development. More often you will find yourself buying them dolls or toys, telling stories before their bedtime and doing everything hoping to impress them. Kids take everything you give them and try to figure out what they can turn them to. They try to relate themselves to the story you tell them or what they see on TV, and that is why you will find them trying to imitate everything they come across. What you must always remember is that, pretend play does not only keep your kid busy. It is an important activity in every child’s life, and yours is not an exception. For parents, be sure to check out mi40x to start your work out regime and set a good role model for your children.