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Friday, November 19, 2010


Have you ever listened to your children as they play whatever pretend games they enjoy playing? It is a very interesting activity to sit and listen in while they play imaginary games. I've noticed over the past few weeks that my girls are playing games that replicate their real lives. Whatever issues they might be dealing with at the time are acted out in the realm of their pretend world. Their animals have nap times, move to new homes, meet new friends, and even lose their teeth - based on whatever is going on in our real lives.

Kira loves to reenact her favorite television programs, too. Her animals have been sold in yard sales - based on Clean House. They have been in competitions to find out who is the best cook - based on Iron Chef. They play school even though my girls are home schooled. They rescue other animals. The scenarios are really quite endless.

This process of imaginary play is so important for the development of the child's mind and social skills. (Social skills? Learned through imaginary play?  --- YEP!) Children who actively engage in imaginary play are given the greatest opportunity to explore every possible role that they might experience in life. The imagination can allow them to be a teacher, be mean, be nice, and even play through all the possible outcomes of each persona they choose to imagine within themselves.

In our excessively structured world where children are expected to engage in multiple activities and spend every waking moment involved in some sort of perfectly scheduled activity, the unstructured freedom of imagination has been lost. It is time to allow children to reconnect with their imagination. Give them freedom and allow them to revel in a world that is not dictated by any predetermined rules.

Let them play!