Your child learns by imagining and doing. Have you ever watched your child pick up a stone and pretend it is a spaceship, or made bunny ears with their fingers and hopped across the living room? In the midst of creating a cafe together, clomping around in grown-up shoes, or twirling around with friends in a fairy tale land, your child is learning to solve problems, coordinate, cooperate, and think flexibly. 
There are many reasons why you should encourage pretend play with your child: 
• Your child will gain practice with using symbols. This strengthens the foundation for your child's pretend skills and language skills. 
• Pretend play is an excellent way to expose your child to new vocabulary that they may not be exposed to in everyday life, such as "pirate", "sword", "rescue", "castle", or "fairy". 
• When you pretend with your child, you will help them learn to play with others. Eventually, your child will start to pretend with other children, where they will learn to take turns and collaborate. 
• When your child takes on a pretend role, they imagine what it is like to be another person. This helps develop their ability to take others' perspectives and develop empathy. 
• Pretend play is fun! When you play like a child and let your imagination lead, you and your child will never run out of things to play with or talk about! 
Not enough pretend play in your home? Why don’t you consider creating an adventure corner or make a prop box filled with objects to spark your child’s imagination.  
You might include: 
• Old clothes, shoes, bags, hats, sunglasses 
• Large plastic crates, cardboard boxes for creating a "home" 
• Old telephones, newspapers, magazines 
• Cooking utensils, dishes, plastic food containers 
• Teddies and dolls. 
Your child loves to play with YOU! When they bring you a pretend cup of tea, play along and ask for a tea spoon of sugar. Ring them up on their pretend phone asking to make an appointment with the doctor today. Show an interest in what they are doing as this helps to develop the story and encourage the imagination but let your child be in charge. Arrange play dates with children of a similar age so they can support each other’s imaginative play. 
At Wellies we whole-heartedly believe that children should be allowed to be children! In our world today, it seems as if we get caught up in being busy and forget to have fun. Encouraging our children to play and have fun will develop healthy connections and choices in life. 
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