Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Importance of Pretend Play

We ran across a very interesting journal article titled: The Role of Pretend Play in Children's Cognitive Development. Obviously, children love doing it because it is fun, but it is interesting to read about why they enjoy it so much, and how beneficial it really is.  Some excerpts of the article that really caught our attention are included below.

"The relationship of pretend play (especially socially interactive pretense) to cognitive development has long been a topic of research interest among educators and psychologists, and a number of studies conducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s supported hypotheses about this relationship. For example, early studies linked play to young children's mathematics readiness (Yawkey, 1981), linguistic/literacy abilities (Pellegrini, 1980), cognitive functioning and impulse control (Saltz, Dixon, & Johnson, 1977), representational competence (Pederson, Rook-Green, & Elder, 1981), and problem-solving skills (Smith & Dutton, 1979). Recent research has explored some cognitive components hypothesized to be strongly related to pretense, such as mental representation ability (i.e., theory of mind), problem solving and other cognitive strategies, social and linguistic competence, and academic skill development."

"Lillard suggests that younger children probably see pretend as an action not a mental representation. However, she recently has suggested that pretend play may function for children as a way to create a "Twin Earth" that allows them to participate in and reason about nonactual situations (Lillard, 2001). Most TOM studies have been conducted in laboratory settings, and some researchers have noted that younger children often show understanding of others' thinking and beliefs in their naturally occurring pretend play. Other researchers have used adapted experimental methods to clarify what aspects of TOM younger children may have."

It is also believed that naturally, children participate in pretend play in order to "practice" for real life.  We find this especially interesting! Now we know why we loved to play store, house, post office, pirates, circus, doctor, teacher, etc.  I don't know about you, but I would have went bananas over some of the play food and costumes from HABA, play cash register and vacuum from Wonderworld Toys, and the play kitchen and accessories from Janod.

Encourage and cultivate your child's cognitive, linguistic, problem solving, and academic skills from an early age - check out our complete collection of pretend play products!

As if the HABA play food isn't cute, interesting and just plain fun-looking enough, watch this adorable video of a child and her father. We betcha a million bucks it'll make you smile!

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