Imagine That! The Importance of Imaginative Play


Children use imaginative play from a young age and, explains Dr Catherine Neilsen-Hewett – a lecturer and researcher in child development, “Imaginative play has the greatest impact on the development of key skills that are important for children’s success with peers. When playing creatively with their friends, your child learns to co-operate and compromise”.

Five benefits of imaginative play are:

  • Social development
  • Language development
  • Emotional development
  • Physical development
  • Thinking skills

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Letting your children direct their own play, rather than being directed in exactly what to do, will mean that they are more likely to do exactly what is best for them on an emotional, intellectual and social level. They will also choose their own paths, leaving them open to study anything that will get them where they want to go.

Toys for imaginative play

There are many toys which you can use for imaginative play – you can even just leave them to play in the garden. As a start, though, you can have at hand:

  • Paper, pens, paint and crayons
  • Plain building blocks
  • Sand
  • Dress-up clothes
  • Plain dolls
  • Clay or play dough

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