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Importance of Creative Play

Tulika Nair
Giving a free rein to children while they play can be a great way of allowing them to explore their creativity. It is impossible to not harp on about the importance of creative play for children as it helps them develop their emotional, social, and communication skills.
Remember what your favorite toy from childhood was? Well, if you do not, then ask your parents. There is a huge chance that you will end up being regaled by stories wherein you spent hours playing with the box that a toy came in rather than the toy itself.
If you do not believe that, just make a trip to a playschool. You will notice how children tend to be at their happiest when playing with the most inconsequential of things, happily transforming them into objects that they desire.
In the simplest of terms, this is creative play; the ability to use the simplest of objects and using one's powers of imagination to create something brilliant.
In recent times, many behavioral psychologists and child specialists have conducted studies on the importance of allowing children to play creatively and imaginatively. They have noticed how, when a kid is guided into playing a certain way, it inhibits their development on several levels.
The importance of creative play lies in the fact that it allows children to develop their imagination and creative skills which in turn is an important asset in developing oneself intellectually, socially, and emotionally. In this article, we will try and explain to you how you can develop the ability to play creatively in kids and how this can help them.

Creative Play: The Importance

Before moving on to see how we can improve creative play skills in kids, it is important to understand how playing creatively can help children.
How does it have such an impact on kids that it improves their learning abilities? How does a kid who indulges in creative play grow up to be different from a kid who does not? We try and answer some of these questions.
  • Most creative plays involve using your imagination to create something that does not exist. By doing this, a kid works on his social and emotional skills. By pretending to be different characters, he experiences (as he sees it) what it would be like to be another person and learns the emotion of empathy.
  • If creative play is indulged in with other kids, then it could be a great way of learning how to cooperate with someone, take on responsibility, learn to share, and also sympathize with another person. Most experts believe that indulging in creative play is an effective way of learning how to solve problems.
  • There is also a strong belief that creative play is a great way of developing one's vocabulary and also one's communication skills. You will be surprised by your kid's vocabulary if you ever observe him playing pretend with his toys or even talking to an imaginary friend.
  • Another important benefit of creative play is the enhancement of thinking skills. With pretense play comes a variety of problems and the ability to solve the problems that they are faced with by thinking inventively. Searching for the right material to build a tent with, creating obstacles for a race; they are all ways of handling the problem at hand.
Now that you know what the importance of allowing your child the freedom of playing creatively is, let us take a look at how you can develop these skills in your kid.

Developing Creative Play Skills

As with many skills like painting, swimming, or even dancing, the fact remains that if you do not constantly use your imaginative and creative skills, you may be letting them rust.
This is true not only for adults but also for kids. If they do not know that they can push the horizons with things, then they are never going to do the same. It is important that you give them the avenue to develop their imagination.
How do you do this? Well, start when they are young. This is important. Create a corner in your child's playroom which serves as the prop area. Play with your kid using the different objects that you place in the prop chest.
What can you place there? The sky is the limit; empty crates, shoes, hats, old unusable telephones, magazines, paper, pencils, crayons, stuffed toys, clothes, bed spread, etc. Allow your kids to create a list of games that they would want to play.
Another thing that you could do is to create a music corner. You do not need to have actual musical instruments. Use bowls filled with water, empty grocery containers, etc. to have an impromptu musical session with your child playing conductor.
Create a small library with all of your kids' favorite story books and fairy tales. Allow them to pretend play using different props and create their own versions of these stories.
There are a few tips to keep in mind while indulging your kids in their creativity. Ensure that your child has a safe place to play his games in.
Even if your kid looks to you for giving him ideas, ensure that you provide him with things that will push him to use his imagination to manipulate things the way he wants. Ensure that you do not schedule these things. Allow him the freedom to play these games as and when he wants.
The difference between creative play and normal games is that the former is not structured. Along with creative play, it is also important that the child be allowed time to indulge in free play, to do things they want and the way they want to do the same.
The importance of creative play lies in the fact that it allows a child to explore a world which was till then a distant universe to them that they were unaware of.