Imaginative Play for Pre-School Children!
Posted on: September 16, 2021.

Author: Prabhukrishna M, Content Creator/Chief Editor, Yokibu Editorial

Complex, multifarious, and of a simple quality that takes place in a preschooler—say between ages 3½ or 4 years to about 5 ½ or 6 years—”imaginative play” is a preschool child’s pretend-play behavior.

It is a world of imagination—a suspension of, seemingly, even the laws of nature—promoted by an abundant capacity to imagine anything, to the point of even seeming absurd to an adult’s sense.

Here, imaginations run amok, impossible things are made believable, and a child fantasizes situations that seem to loom larger than life—thus, to GROW, imaginative play becomes the child’s NEED.

The opportunity to think through and remember what happened in familiar situations is created for pre-school children—about 4 ½ years old—through imaginative play.

Ideas and concepts revolving around their world are assimilated by preschool children through the supportive elements of imaginative play such as action and creative language.

Their world of fun and imagination becomes engrossing as they relive the scenes over and over again—no wonder they love repeating the same!—from which children derive a lot of fun and excitement.

In the developmental growth of a preschool child, pretend and play is a crucial part that nurtures the ability to imagine. Otherwise, creativity and empathy—the two most important qualities—will fail to develop.

This misfortune occurs if a child is denied enough time to indulge in these make-believe worlds, or the opportunity to sufficiently exercise his/her imaginative powers.

Then, with no scope to develop these qualities, what has a child lost, developmentally?

Intellectual and emotional growth is stunted if the opportunity to form the best foundation he/she could have ever got—ample room to create a world of her own—is denied for a child.

Highly essential for a child’s social and emotional development is the opportunity, in an imaginary world, to make one’s own rules—and even break them!—exercise control over happenings there, and call the shots…

…allowing that child to believe—in what he/she has created for himself/herself—that he/she is the director of this imaginative world.

Information and knowledge about the world that operates around a child from the time he/she is born is gathered a lot by the newborn, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary…

…by using such information and knowledge to stretch his/her imagination—and play with the world in ways that the world is not really so!—which the child loves to! An imaginary friend is a preschooler’s first and best.

From a lazy caterpillar to a king-sized dinosaur, or a quirky squirrel to a superhero like Superman—anyone could be their best imaginary friend. This feature is an important stage of their social development.

While adults around are still an enigma to a preschool child, an imaginary friend offers a haven of support, a safety valve, is a safe bystander who could offer the preschooler…

… a safe opportunity to feel in charge, feel a measure of control in his/her life, perhaps even allow him/her to go against rules.

The fun-filled manner in which learning sessions happen through imaginative-play, helps the child learn eye-hand co-ordination, pre-math, pre-reading, pre-writing skills, counting, spatial intelligence…

… with feelings and emotions expressed in the safety of an imaginative atmosphere. And often because that activity is familiar to the children, re-creating the same would be loved by that child.

A preschooler understands his/her role in the family, discovers identity of self, and unlearns discrimination, by pretend-playing to be a shopkeeper, a waiter at a restaurant, a driver to her friends, a mother to her dolls.

Older children enjoy pretend-playing a traffic police, a cop, a pilot, a bus conductor, a teacher, a doctor, or a postman, or retelling stories, either real, fictional, or totally imaginary—the list could be endless!

Organizing complex thoughts is highly difficult—close to impossible—for a 4 ½-year-old child. During imaginary play in a pretentious world the following is possible—

…thoughts begin to organize themselves into meaningful insights

…roles that other people play becomes understandable and brings awareness

…clarity evolves on how they would think and act

… his/her own thoughts appear distinct from those of different others

… that others have their own feelings, different from his/her own, is learnt—the social skill of empathy

Even small little things as toys, dolls, trinkets—just about anything that may have been discarded by the real world as “insignificant”—becomes the stuff of imagination in a preschooler’s tiny world.

Young children also overcome their fears through imaginative play which helps them learn to interact with the world, understand the world, and prepares them for adulthood.

For a preschool child, a medium for strong physical, social, and emotional anchoring is augured in his/her early years through imaginative pretend-play.

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