• The Importance of Role Play in Child Development

    Role play plays a very important role in child development. Basically, it is a type of game in which the little one imitates real-life situations and embodies other people, allowing him to form an image of the world around him and develop his skills. In fact, role play is much more than just entertainment as it prepares the child for his future life as an adult.

    Here are 5 reasons why role play is fundamental in childhood:

    1. Promote creativity

    When the child plays to become a doctor, father or lawyer, he not only imitates the behaviors of the adults around him but also unleashes his creativity. In fact, it is usual to continually cross the boundary between the real and imaginary, giving life to their own characters and creating completely new situations. Therefore, it is an excellent exercise to stimulate your imagination and enhance your creativity.

    2. Stimulates language development

    Through this type of game the child also develops his language and learns new words and concepts. Some of the terms he uses have been heard before, but at the time of the game, when he plays another person, it is when he gives them a meaning and includes them in his vocabulary. You can also learn new words and expressions with the other children who play with him.

    3. Regulate your emotions

    Through the characters he represents, the child expresses his ideas, feelings and way of seeing the world. The fact of putting yourself in another skin allows you to show your inner world more easily and channel your fears, conflicts and worries.

    4. Promotes problem solving

    In the role play, the child faces multiple problems and situations that are part of everyday life. That is why it is an opportunity to develop their conflict resolution tools and learn to make their own decisions.

    5. Develop social skills

    Through the role play the child also learns to communicate with other people and to establish different types of links. Learn to give up, listen, refute the criteria of others in a respectful way and be more empathetic.

    What is the appropriate age to introduce the child to the role play?

    Usually, the child discovers the role play naturally around 3 years. At this age he is already able to recognize himself as an independent person and begins to create his own mental representations of the world.

    At the beginning, the most common is that the child is limited to representing the life of adults, whether it is the daily life of those around him or the story of the characters he sees in cartoons, children’s stories or television.

    As the little one grows, he will be able to recreate more complex scenarios, the result of the development of his capacity for representation, creativity, experiences and relationships with other people. This occurs between 4 or 5 years, an age in which the child already has the necessary psychological tools to maximize the benefits of the role play, although it will not be until about 7 years that he will become a real actor.

    3 Role plays to have fun with the little ones at home

    1. Encourage the child to become his favorite hero / heroine. Embodying your favorite hero or heroine is one of the role plays that the child will enjoy the most. In addition, it is a very simple way to empower and enhance self-determination.
    2. Encourage him to represent a professional he admires. Unleash the little one to become the professional he would like to be in the future and experience in his own skin what it means to be a doctor, lawyer, teacher or computer scientist.
    3. Encourage him to imitate a world figure. Give the child the opportunity to put himself in the shoes of a historical, political or cinematographic personality and encourage him to make important decisions from that position. In this way you will learn to assess the consequences of your actions.

  • Child’s Play According to Each Stage of Development

    The game is essential in the lives of children. Through the game, the little one explores the world and understands it, in addition to developing their interests and, of course, having fun. However, as the child grows, the game changes, acquires more nuances and becomes more complex. Therefore, reference can be made to different types of games that are specific to each stage of child development.

    The stages of children’s play

    ▪ Unemployed game (0-12 months)

    This game is characteristic of babies and can be understood as a preparation for the game itself. In practice, the child plays to make seemingly random movements and gestures without any specific objective. In fact, these movements are attempts to learn to move within their environment.

    ▪ Solo game (0-2 years)

    It is an independent game since the child plays only with his toys, which is mainly due to the fact that his social, cognitive and physical abilities are still very limited. However, this type of game is very important because it allows you to think, explore and create. When a child plays alone, he learns to concentrate, to think for himself, comes up with creative ideas and begins to regulate his emotions.

    Through the game alone the child is preparing to interact with his peers. In fact, it is likely that at the end of the 2 years he will start playing with an imaginary partner, which will help him develop the language. Therefore, solo play is really a bridge to social play.

    In this stage of children’s play, each new object or situation represents a valuable learning experience. The child will perform simple and repetitive activities that for adults can be boring but that gives them great satisfaction, such as filling a bucket of sand and then pouring it or hitting wooden blocks together.

    ▪ Game as a spectator (18 months-2 ½ years)

    In this type of game, the child spends a lot of time watching other little ones play. You do not participate directly in the game, although you can ask them questions to better understand what they are doing. It usually arises around 2 years, which is when the child begins to pay more attention to the other children. In this activity, the little one learns through observation, is interested in what the other children do but is not yet ready to join the game. In fact, this type of game takes place simultaneously with the game alone.

    ▪ Parallel play (2½-3 years)

    Children play independently, side by side. They can use similar or different toys, but have not yet developed the skills needed to play together. Parallel play helps them master basic skills to regulate their behavior with their peers and get along with them, in addition to stimulating autonomous work.

    This type of game is completely normal and is the last step for the child to interact with their peers. In fact, although it seems that they are playing independently, they are actually looking at each other and already enjoy the closeness of the other, but they are not yet able to interact without the intervention of an adult.

    ▪ Associative game (3-4 years)

    This type of game involves a group of children with similar goals. They will play with other children who use the same toys and even interact with each other, but they will not play precisely with them. In the associative game rules are not established and, although everyone wants to play with the same toys and exchange them, there is no formal organization. In practice, it is a solo game with the assistance and cooperation of other children, which is because they are not yet ready to participate in a group itself. In fact, communication is usually limited to borrowing toys and little else. However, more mature children are already starting to emerge as leaders.

    ▪ Collaborative game (4-5 + years)

    In this type of game, typical of preschool age, children are already able to play in groups and work together. In the game there is a general objective, there is a leader and everyone intervenes more or less actively. It can be competitive games or role plays that simulate the lives of adults. Entering the collaborative game means that children are already able to establish and follow certain rules that guarantee the success of the activity.

    Last but not least, it is worth clarifying that these stages of children’s play are not exclusive. For example, a 4-year-old child will enjoy playing with his friends as well as the solo game, which does not disappear but is complemented by other types of interactions.