By Valle Dwight
Whether it’s shooting pretend enemies or playing with a dollhouse, there’s a whole lot going on when young kids use their imagination in play. Pretend play uses many parts of the brain, including those that control language, movement, emotions, and cognition. It also helps kids explore new roles and figure out how things work and how they fit into the world. Research has shown that kids who spend lots of time engaged in pretend play are better abstract thinkers and more socially and linguistically competent. And you thought your child was just playing with dolls!
Studies have also found that pretend play is the foundation for more obviously educational activities. It’s the building block to more-sophisticated games (in which kids add rules and play cooperatively) and ultimately things like team sports and board games.
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