If your child insists on wearing a superhero cape or setting a place at the dinner table for his teddy, don’t be too alarmed. Children love to play imaginary games and most experts encourage it, pointing out that make-believe helps emotional, social and even cognitive development.
When children engage in pretend play, they may use an object to represent something else, for example picking up a block and pretending it’s a car, or using Mummy’s sun hat as a crown. All of which helps them to run through scenarios in their mind and learn from them.
Your child may also participate in role-playing, where he assumes a character (Mum, Dad, a superhero). In doing so, he’ll learn empathy and basic social skills such as taking turns. Your child might mimic real-life situations, such as doing the washing or taking a message when he’s on the phone ? these tasks challenge his cognitive thinking skills.
You can help encourage pretend play by collecting a few essentials to help your child build his fantasy world: paper, pencils, stuffed animals and dolls, old telephones, magazines, even a dressing up box full of old clothes. Not only will this help to boost your child’s brainpower, it’ll keep him from under your feet for a few hours too!