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Happy new year! A lot of us had some time off over these holidays and
were able to spend them with our families. It gave us the time to really be
with our children and be a part of their world.
There are a few things I was able to observe during this time I spent with my child. I was able to watch the way she plays. I was able to learn something about her playtime as well. The three I's of pretend play in young children are imagination, imitation, and innovation.
Children love imagining themselves to be grown ups. My 3 year old gets very upset if she's referred to as a "baby/small girl". She says "I'm a big girl!". They love to be in our shoes so it is our moral responsibility to make the shoes worthy enough for them to fit into.
They also engage themselves in imaginary play with their toys and friends. During one of many play dates, my daughter and her friend pretended to be the "cooker" (chef) and the "server" (waiter) at a restaurant and I had to be the imaginary customer.
Children are born actors as they love to role play different characters from the real world. More often than not, they imitate their parents or teachers. While it's usually amusing to see them behave like us, sometimes this can be a wake-up call for us too when we hear our own words voiced out by them. For instance, my 3 year old girl loves to play mommy while her dollies are her daughters. During one such act, I saw her retiring her dolly to the “naughty corner” for something very insignificant. It only made me realize how unnecessarily harsh I had been to her.
Every child's fantasy world
is Disneyland. Like many others, my child also loves to impersonate characters
from this fantasy world and more. She also likes to pretend to be different
characters such as Gullo from Ghotu Motu Ki Toli as well.
Children love toys but it's amazing how much they can do with even an empty cardboard box. They can use any object to represent something else. For example, my little girl had this innovative idea of converting the cardboard box into a tv. She then plonked herself inside the "tv" and entertained us "viewers". And that's been one of her favorite pretend game to date.
There are many children's museums that encourage pretend play. Two such museums that I've been with my daughter are "Please Touch Museum" in Philadelphia & "Imagine That" in New Jersey.
Pretend play is not only fun but it is important too.
Written by Gauri Jain - a doctor and an Indian mother of a curious 3 year old daughter living in the US for Ghotu Motu Ki Toli.