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Benefits of Imaginative Plays in Early Years

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Albert Einstein

Imaginative plays are role plays with other words. It is about acting out different tasks and plots while expressing positive and negative feelings and discovering choices. Imaginative play is an enjoyable way for children to learn about themselves, others, and their environment, which promotes their cognitive and physical development. Not only does it fire cognitive and physical improvement, but it is a powerful method for developing social skills.

So there are many benefits of imaginative play in the early years to our child’s healthy development than just simple fun. Child therapists also use role-play therapy to help children through challenging situations and even treat autism.

Role plays allow our children to explore their ideas in a safe world and try different scenarios to improve their communication, problem-solving, and social-emotional skills. Furthermore, imaginative plays develop children’s self-esteem
and creativity. Role-play gets them excited about taking risks and being creative. Also, they can learn a lot about everyday situations the different professions.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, “ Albert Einstein said. Imagination is at the heart of children’s role play. It is how children make sense of the world by acting out different stories.

Different types of imaginative plays

Real-life situations

Real-life situations can be beneficial in early childhood. Kids can learn a lot about their natural environment. Building and constructing plays can be very effective types of this real-life situation role plays. They can also develop the child’s physical mannerisms and communication skills while providing freedom to experiment and explore.


When our little ones act out an occupational job role, such as police officers, doctors, nurses, shop assistants, or drivers, with these occupational plays, they can imagine that they are ‘grown-ups’ and play an essential role in society. They develop their empathy, problem-solving, and communication skills.

My Mira’s favorite role-play is doctor role-play. She is obsessed with this doctor and medical topic. She loves books about doctors and illnesses and likes watching cartoons on this topic. So, it is no wonder her favorite role play is when she acts as a doctor, and the other peer is the patient. She was over the moon when she got her Christmas presents, including a wonderful doctor role-play costume set and get well doctor’s kit set.

3 year old girl in her doctor's costume


Fantasy is a considerable element of imaginative play. In the early years, these imaginative plays help children understand the different character roles of good and evil in a specific situation. Little children love acting out their book character roles. Playing their favorite characters improves their bravery and confidence, and creativity.

Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding.” Lloyd Alexander

What are the benefits of imaginative plays in the early years?

Fosters Imagination and Creativity

Imagination and creativity are the foundation for genius ideas, technological inventions, and innovative cures. Children must exercise and train their brains to imagine as early as possible, and they will understand different points of view on various aspects of life and envision a good book. They can imagine what others would say and how they would act. We can educate future poets, authors, or actors when healthy imaginations
are fuelled while we nurture their creative cognitive development.

Develops Language Skills and Communication

When playing role-plays, children learn new words and expressions from each other. Using new vocabulary, they gain confidence in communication and learn to convey a message by picking their words correctly and listening to others. They have got a vast impact on communication development and learning different languages.

Children can learn to listen to and pay attention to others. Even children who are usually very quiet may talk on the phone in their role-play.

They can imitate different voices, body language, and expressions in roleplays.

Helps Problem-Solving

In role-plays, children can meet scenarios they haven’t faced previously. They need to think outside the box to find the solution to a problem. They need to use critical thinking skills
when overcoming a problem in a particular situation.

Aids Social and Emotional Development

During imaginative plays, children put themselves into a character’s shoes, empathize with them, and understand why these people or characters do what they do. They can learn how to manage their emotions, solve conflicts quickly, and control their behavior. Therapists also use role-playing to relieve stress and soothe its effects on a child.

When a group of children participates in role-play, they can learn how to collaborate in a situation. They know how to solve a problem together.

Through imaginative plays, children can also learn that not everybody sees or experiences the world similarly. Everybody is an individual with their own background, life experience, and personality.

Role-playing nurtures building emotional awareness. It is an excellent way for children to explore and talk about ‘big feelings’ that they might not be comfortable talking about them directly. Conveying their feelings and emotions through another character or voice can be extraordinarily helpful to them.

Enhances Physical Development

Role plays provide an opportunity for children to be active.  In the early years, role-plays develop the children’s stand-to-eye coordination and fine and gross motor skills creatively, causing vast physical development. They also get a lot physically through imaginative play.

Acting out everyday chores like cleaning, ironing, or shopping improves their proprioceptive development in natural ways.

How can you encourage imaginative play?

We need to show interest in whatever our children do during these imaginative plays, which can give them self-acceptance and security.
We don’t have to control them during these plays. They have to be given control of their actions. Otherwise, they cannot thrive.

When our child asks us to play with them, we must say “Yes.” It is not always easy besides our other things to do, but playing with them for 15 minutes at least is very important. Moreover, we can arrange common playtime with other children of similar age as often as possible.

A supportive, warm relationship and interactions need to be provided where we can observe our children’s interests and how they communicate and express themselves.

Taking our children to new places to explore and observe new backgrounds and people can hugely develop their imaginations. Children love discovering new things and the world around them.

Going out on a short walk or to the playground daily can also be very incentive for their development. During these outings, we ask many questions from them. “Can you imagine if you were this little squirrel and you lived in that tree?” pointing out a big tree in the park. “What would your treehouse look like?”

Reading bedtime stories every day also develops our children’s imaginations. We can talk about the stories using the pictures in the books. We can get a great insight into our children’s emotions and thoughts.

Singing songs together also makes our children thrive.

What can we take away from these role-plays?

Playing role-plays with our children helps us discover the world from our child’s point of view; we can get direct access to the inner world of our child’s mind.

During the organized playtimes with their peers, we can observe how they interact with them and how and whom they build friendships with. Also, these common imaginative plays create many memories for them and us that we preserve and talk about during a lifetime.

What is your child’s recent favorite role-play?

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