Five Ways Children Benefit From Creative Playtime
Special to The Truth
When kids pretend to be
their favorite superhero, it may look like sheer fun at
first glance, but experts say that imaginative play also
benefits children in a number of substantial ways.
“From building confidence
and self-perception to offering children an opportunity to
practice communication and language skills, pretend play is
vital to child development,” says Keri Wilmot, a pediatric
occupational therapist and an expert contributor to
How can creative play help
your child thrive? Here are five important benefits,
according to The Genius of Play, a national movement
providing families with the information, inspiration and
hands-on ideas they need to make play an important part of
their child’s day.
• Enhanced literacy: Some
of the same mental connections that take place when a child
is first learning to read are employed in the world of
pretend. Whether it’s a banana that becomes a phone or a
towel being used as a cape, grasping symbolism in the world
of play can pave the way for children to better recognize
that each letter of the alphabet represents a sound.
Encourage kids to use the everyday objects and toys around
them to build a world of creativity and fun.
• Leadership skills: From
a very young age, playtime experiences can have a major
impact on the development of children’s leadership skills.
In the case of superhero play, the act of taking on a
powerful persona offers kids an opportunity to assert
themselves and gain self-confidence, while creatively
constructing their own story lines. Through play, parents,
teachers and mentors can help foster these attributes in
• Movement: Movement helps
children hone their coordination, balance and motor skills.
Associating exercise with fun can set a precedent for a
lifetime habit. What’s more, physical activity encourages
better eating and sleeping habits. Be sure your kids have a
safe place to play indoors that lets them burn off all their
energy. When the weather is nice, take the fun to the
backyard or a nearby park, where the possibilities for
• Perseverance: Known as
the “Batman Effect,” a 2016 study published in “Child
Development” found that kids stay better focused on a task
when they are pretending to be their favorite superheroes or
characters. Through play, you can encourage your children to
channel the bravery and perseverance of the superheroes they
admire most, giving them the emotional tools needed to
thrive in a challenging world.
• Emotional development:
Role play offers children an opportunity to explore their
emotions, both good and bad, while building compassion.
Children can channel frustration, anger, fear and triumph
into the worlds, characters and storylines they create,
learning to manage these emotions in healthy ways.
For more child development
tips and play resources, visit TheGeniusofPlay.org.
There may be times when
you’d prefer your child finally change out of his or her
superhero costume. But by letting kids explore their
creativity, you can help them reap the benefits of this type