The Benefits of Make-Believe
Isn’t it astonishing that children can transform a blanket and a few chairs into a secluded mountain cave, or a simple stick into a powerful magic wand? Without hesitation, children are ready to play with their imagination! But, did you know that play is quickly becoming extinct? Our children are developing in a world dominated by technology (a creativity killer!), and busy schedules—so much that if given an hour or two of free time, some merely don’t know what to do with themselves. Although all children have the capacity for creativity, its up to the parent to encourage and nurture the child’s imagination and allow time and space for creative play.
The freedom to play, explore, create and imagine independently is what we call CREATIVE PLAY. It is something that is instinctive in all children, but often squandered by other day-to-day priorities.
Creative play allows children to do more than transport themselves to pretend worlds. Having time and space to play freely is essential to self reflection and expression. Studies show that creative play teaches children to take risks, to experiment, to think critically, to act rather than react, to differentiate themselves from their environment, and to make life meaningful. Creative play gives children the much needed opportunity to explore their world, and themselves! Creative play helps the child to develop emotionally, physically, and cognitively in more ways than we can count on all our fingers and toes.
So parents, throw out the schedule just this once; stop chasing the clock, and racing through the day. Turn off the tv, and pull your child off the couch and just let kids do what they do best— PLAY!