What Children Learn from Pretending

24 Jun

By pretending, children are able to:

• act out real life or imaginary roles playing alone or with other children without the accompanying stress of responsibility

• stimulate and express their thinking, creativity, and imagination by manipulating and rearranging their environments and experiences

• escape from the limits of being little, weak, or naive

• experiment, explore, and extend their boundaries of experience, size, strength, time, space and logic

• build self-confidence with opportunities to feel important, to support or repair their self-esteem, feel less helpless, more in power

• challenge their own thinking and resourcefulness

• focus on new concepts and ideas and integrate them into their lives

• see what it feels like to temporarily be someone else by acting out what another person might say and do

• enhance their communication skills: vocabulary; comprehension; speaking; attention span; listening to and following directions

• clarify their feelings, and vent their problems by putting them into words

• express their ideas, needs, feelings, fears and fantasies safely

• neutralize negative, aggressive, destructive feelings by releasing unacceptable impulses

• prepare for grown-up roles by imitating many different adults

• learn about different situations, people, animals, and places

• work out their fears, problems, resolve issues, experiment with solutions, make sense of confusion

• test limits, take risks, reverse usual roles, act out anti-social behavior (try bad behavior)

• develop a sense of morality and pro-social behavior

• gain knowledge about social relationships and understand themselves better

• enhance cooperation, and take turns as they plan and work together

• discriminate between reality and fantasy by bringing them together in play

• experience similarity, diversity, and inclusion

• cultivate senses of belonging, joint purpose, and cooperation


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