Playing Pretend Boosts Brain Development

Posted by on Oct 15, 2012 in Playtime Live |


Dressing up in princess dresses and firefighter uniforms and whipping up delicious meals in the play kitchen are favorite activities in all of our Playtime Project playrooms. These activities and other imaginative games are lots of fun for all children, and provide a special respite for kids whose current reality is life in a shelter.

But did you know that pretend play is also associated with cognitive benefits such as increased language usage and the development of “theory of mind” (the awareness that other people’s perspectives may differ from our own)?

Research shows that pretend play and “make-believe” are linked to the following positive behaviors in children age 2 and a half  – age 7:
– reduced aggression
– delay of gratification
– heightened civility & empathy
– improved social skills & communication skills
– problem solving
– cognitive flexibility & creativity (in fact, childhood imaginative play has been linked to increased creative performance later in life!)

One study even found that make-believe games were more frequently played by Nobel Prize winners than by control groups!

Read The Need for Pretend Play in Childhood Development, by Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD for more information, & keep up all that great imaginative play in the playrooms!

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