The importance of play for preschoolers

Encourage your child to use her imagination — it’s not just fun, but builds the importance of play for preschoolers skills too! Young children learn by imagining and doing. Have you ever watched your child pick up a stone and pretend it is a zooming car, or hop a Lego across the table as if it were a person or a bunny? Through cooperative play, he learns how to take turns, share responsibility, and creatively problem-solve.

When your child pretends to be different characters, he has the experience of “walking in someone else’s shoes,” which helps teach the important moral development skill of empathy. Have you ever listened in as your child engages in imaginary play with his toys or friends? You will probably hear some words and phrases you never thought he knew! In fact, we often hear our own words reflected in the play of children. Kids can do a perfect imitation of mom, dad, and the teacher! Pretend play helps your child understand the power of language.

In addition, by pretend playing with others, he learns that words give him the means to reenact a story or organize play. Pretend play provides your child with a variety of problems to solve. Whether it’s two children wanting to play the same role or searching for the just right material to make a roof for the playhouse, your child calls upon important cognitive thinking skills that he will use in every aspect of his life, now and forever. Does your child enjoy a bit of roughhousing? Not enough pretend play at your house? Consider creating a prop box or corner filled with objects to spark your preschooler’s fantasy world.

Get kids learning with these fun, themed activities! Nutritious breakfast and snack recipes—with food activities for kids! Reinforce your child’s time telling skills with this award-winning mobile app! Get expert advice on reading, homework help, learning activities, and more. Play sets the tone for how your child learns and socializes. Learn about 11 types of play and why they are important for early childhood development.

Play builds your child’s creativity and imagination as well as other skills. Does all play look the same to you? He may be engaged in seemingly random movements, with no objective. Despite appearances, this definitely is play and sets the stage for future play exploration. This type of play is important because it teaches a child how to keep himself entertained, eventually setting the path to being self-sufficient. Any child can play independently, but this type of play is the most common in younger children around ages 2 or 3. At that age, they are still pretty self-centered and lack good communication skills.