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The Importance of Role Playing and Open-Ended Play for Children

The Importance of Role Playing and Open-Ended Play for Children

While expanding our interest catalog with toys that encourage role-play and open-ended play, we wanted to share with you why role-playing or creative play is important for children.

1: Encourages creativity and imagination

Role playing helps children develop and use their cognitive abilities and skills naturally. By using their imaginations regularly, they demonstrate creativity and learn to think for themselves. At a time when so much importance is given to the grades our children receive at school, it is even more important today to create a world where children can express themselves and live in a magical space of possibility.

The following quote made me question all my preconceptions about knowledge, so I like to share it from time to time, especially in a society where memorization is so blessed:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. As imagination embraces the whole world, knowledge is now limited to what we already know and understand.” Albert Einstein

2: Promotes social and emotional development

Empathy develops through role-playing games. Children learn to internalize and understand certain emotional states in these games. When they pretend to be someone else or use objects as something else, they experience different social situations and different emotions by trial and error. They learn how to interact, collaborate or work collaboratively with each other to play. This fictional world is a safe environment that they create and make sense of in order to express themselves and overcome their anxieties and fears.

3: Improves communication and language

Children are surprisingly good at learning words they hear from caregivers, friends, and other adults as soon as they hear them. The role-playing game helps to understand the power of language and how these words can be used in various scenarios. It also encourages you to listen to what is being said. When I first heard our daughter use such words in the right context (like "I'm so angry") I tried so hard not to laugh. He didn't know exactly what it meant, but he understood the emotion. Understanding and expressing emotions is one of the most important things for communication. You and your children can create these and similar fun game scenarios and encourage them to use new words related to everyday tasks such as being at the train station, waiting at the bus stop, traveling by car or shopping, or help them create safe environments where they can understand different emotions.

4: Improves thinking, learning and problem solving skills

The nature of creative play means that children have to decide what to play, with whom to play and how, what the rules are, what they need to play or what to do when something goes wrong, all of which need cognitive thinking. It's a pretty important skill they'll use for the rest of their lives.

5: Supports physical development

Running, jumping, climbing, exploring new islands in a pirate game, or jumping on a boat and pretending to be Vikings in a game is often physical and a great way to develop motor skills. Even the simple act of changing a baby's clothes, braiding hair, using disks or blocks, pretending to eat, helps develop fine motor skills.

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