Pretend play is vital for the development of social skills and learning. Research shows that pretend play is crucial to language and narrative skills in young children.
Pretend play is vital for social skills and learning
Did you know that pretend play is vital for the development of social skills and learning? Research shows that pretend play is crucial to language and narrative skills in young children. Narrative skills include being able to describe things, to tell events in order, and to retell stories. Narrative enables children to problem solve properly, make predictions about what is going to happen next and to understand how to make a story. Pretend play is also important for developing friendships, emotional regulation, self-organisation, reasoning skills and creativity.
Pretend play helps to develop a child's fine motor skills
Why are fine motor skills important? Fine motor skills involve the use of small muscles in our hands, wrists, fingers, feet and toes. They include actions like grasping, holding, pressing, or using a pincer grip (holding something between the fore-finger and thumb).
Fine motor skills are vital for doing everyday activities like buttoning up a shirt, using utensils to eat, tying shoelaces, cutting with scissors and writing. As adults, we use fine motor skills so often in our daily lives that it’s easy to take them for granted.
Children develop fine motor skills at very different rates, so try not to compare your child's fine motor skills against other children. If you've worried about your child's fine motor skills and think that they might not be developing properly, consider seeing an Inspiro children's occupational therapist.
Go here to learn 10 ways to develop your child's fine motor skills or make one of these 7 fun things together to help improve their fine motor skills
Pretend play can help develop gross motor skills
Pretend play can also be beneficial in developing a child's gross motor skills. The importance of gross motor (physical) skills development in pre-schoolers is continually underestimated. Learn more about what gross motor skills are here.
Pretend play supports a healthy parent-child relationship
When caregivers participate in pretend play they support a healthy parent-child relationship. Children who have challenges in pretend play tend to have challenges in transitioning from solitary play, to parallel play, and then social play.
Children who show non-social or “withdrawn” play behaviours during preschool are at greater risk of peer rejection, social anxiety and negative self-esteem in later childhood, as well as having negative implications for their academic success.
7 fun things to make with your kids to help improve their fine motor skills
Why "active play" is vital for pre-school kids - 10 play tips
Inspiro's Occupational Therapists can help your child develop their fine motor skills: Find out about our occupational therapy for children
Children need fine motor skills: 10 ways to improve your child’s fine motor skills
It's not fun when your child has a tantrum in public: 6 ways to tame children's tantrums
Types of children's play:
- Solitary play is when the child is alone and maintains focus on their activity. They are uninterested in or is unaware of what others are doing. This type of play is more common in younger children (age 2–3).
- Parallel play is a form of play in which children play next to each other, but do not try to influence one another's behavior. Children usually play alone during parallel play but are interested in what other children are doing.
- Social play is any play in which children interact with each other. The play is structured (meaning there are rules to follow) and it may include pretend or imagination.
Play at 3 years old
By the age of three, a child should be reconstructing events they have experienced while they are playing, like being in an aeroplane. They should also be re-creating scripts they have seen from TV programs or stories, such as pirates, not just play related to feeding, sleeping, dressing and cooking.
A three year old should also be able to easily substitute an object for something else and use it in an imaginary way. They might decide a toilet roll is a telescope, or a blanket is a pond. We should see references to imaginary characters and objects, such as an invisible birthday cake on a plate, or an invisible alien chasing them. A three year old should treat a doll or teddy as though it is alive and can walk, talk, eat and interact with other toys or imaginary characters.
These skills enable pre-schoolers to begin some wonderful collaborative play with peers, promoting healthy social participation at preschool and primary school.
6 tips for healthy kids' feet
There are 52 bones in your child's feet - that's nearly a quarter of the bones in their body! These small bones continue to grow until adulthood. Untreated and easy to miss foot conditions can lead to knee, hip and back pain; and can seriously affect your child’s development and posture. Shoes and socks that don’t fit properly can cause pain. So, it’s important check your child’s feet and treat any problems as early as possible.
See 6 tips for healthy kids feet from our podiatrists here.
Inspiro has experts who can help preschool kids improve their fine motor skills and get ready for school
If you know a child who will benefit from support to develop pretend play skills, contact us on 9028 0153. We provide support for children and their families up to school attendance.
Inspiro's children's occupational therapists (OT) support children, with their families, to become more independent in everyday activities. Our experts help children with their hand skills (holding a pencil, drawing, cutting with scissors, playing with small objects etc), body skills (balancing, jumping, catching a ball, running etc) and self-care skills (dressing, toileting and sleeping etc). They will also support a child’s ability to concentrate, pay attention and manage sensory sensitivities.