Imaginative play has so many wonderful benefits for children's development. In a world where technology and interactive computer games are in abundance and getting more and more complex, it's important we don't lose sight of this valuable type of play, and encourage little ones to take part in traditional pretend play alongside their other activities.
The Child Development Institute explains, "Play that links sensori-motor, cognitive and social-emotional experiences provides an ideal setting for brain development", with the essential dimensions of play being;
- Voluntary, enjoyable and purposeful
- Enhanced creativity using problem solving, social, language and physical skills
- Expanding on new ideas
- Adapting socially
- Helping to prevent emotional problems
Toys can become the medium through which little ones can experience and learn all of these dimensions, learning about the world around them and themselves along the way.
The type of play that wooden toys inspire, whether a dolls house, playhouse or play kitchen set, is entirely unstructured. This means the little ones can invent their very own worlds and play scenarios, without being led by certain tasks or goals such as those set in computer games. Providing this type of unstructured play allows children to create stories and games of their own, and wooden toys such as dolls houses with dolls and accessories provide the perfect tools and inspiration for these stories to take place.
A wooden dolls house with cute little dolls and accessories can inspire and encourage all of those important dimensions of play. The enjoyable worlds are wholly created using their creativity, with the accessories simply providing tools to do this. While the dolls find themselves talking to each other about their home-making adventures, the little one who is creating this conversation is strengthening their own communication, and these conversations also work as reflections of what the child has learnt in the world around them, whether at home or school.
As well as the dolls' conversations, the chats and discussions being had with friends and siblings while playing together and deciding what the dolls should be doing in their home adds another dimension of communication as well as developing social skills. A play house inspires the same type of creative play, with the home-making adventures being acted out by themselves rather than through the dolls and accessories within a dolls house. This encourages little ones to discuss their adventures and take part in role-play stories within their very own miniature home.
With no limits on what adventures can take place in these imaginary worlds, little ones can build and adapt the adventures as they go along, using their imaginative skills throughout. This is the beauty of unstructured play; the limits set by some computer games and technology can be exhilarating yet constraining on the imagination and type of skills used.
Pretend play develops so many skills that are so valuable in their youth and continue to lay a valuable foundation for adulthood.