It’s the small things in life that create lasting memories… your first bicycle, your first school play, losing your first tooth.
For parents, guardians and teachers, keeping the little ones entertained and engaged organically has become increasingly difficult amongst an abundance of technology.
At Noah’s Forest Friends, we believe in the beauty of simplicity. As our days have become overloaded with the demands of home working and home schooling, it’s never been more important to stop, be present and engage in explorative playtime with sustainable toys and games that truly capture your child’s imagination and creativity.
In this blog, we unfold the benefits of child-led role play - here’s to nurturing the next generation of budding performers and thespians!
Sparks Creativity and Imagination
In the words of Walt Disney, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ According to research, a child’s capacity for cognitive flexibility and creativity are closely linked to role play. Allowing children to indulge in their imagination not only activates the right hemisphere of the brain but creates courageous little busy bodies with a stronger sense of self. Child-led role play initiates curiosity, allowing growing minds to explore, question and develop a deeper understanding of real-life situations.
Develops Communication and Language Skills
Young children are adept at picking up new words. This instinctive quality when combined with character role-play, whether that be embodying their favourite superhero, prince or princess, enables a whole new vocabulary to be built. Role play also develops toddlers’ communication skills and broadens their language as they immerse in fantastical stories with each other in a safe environment.
Encourages Children to Express their Ideas and Feelings
The lessons we learn at a young age are embedded in our subconscious, expressing themselves throughout adulthood, which is why it’s important to allow children the freedom to feel and help them recognise their emotions. Role play is shown to have a soothing effect on children, an identified stress reliever. This is because, as your little ones are placed in an imaginative social set-up, they must find a way to interact with others, empathise and partake in teamwork.
Enhances Physical Development and Coordination
We believe anything which promotes physical activity, whether that be daisy-picking on a spring day or playing with beautifully adorned wooden toys when it’s gloomy outside, should be encouraged. Exploring nature and the environment is an important part of childhood.
So, as you watch your little ones scale up ladders and swirl down slides, know that they are engaging their motor skills and hand-to-eye coordination.
Fosters an Exciting Learning Environment
The art of disguise; for children that get overwhelmed at the mention of lesson-time, role play provides a wonderful way for children to learn about behaviours and group dynamics. Inevitably, it also develops problem-solving skills, and the nature of group play makes young ones more aware and understanding of other’s points of view on various aspects of life.
Develops Social Skills as Children Collaborate with Others
Not only does role play encourage children to embrace their inner performers, but it also bolsters their confidence, helping them to perform better in life. Free or unstructured play in early childhood is an important way that children make sense of their environment and develop those all-important social skills; as they grow older, children learn about societal rules by making up games with rules, as well as about winning and losing and ‘playing fair’.
Children Learn to Empathise with Others
Through role-play, your child uses creativity to come to an understanding of how the world works. Your child may take on roles to master a myriad of competencies and overcome fears, and imagination creates a world where it is safe to step out of a comfort zone and try out different solutions to various situations in life. This safe space which is created as a result of playtime, encourages empathy, a critical and complex skill for young children to develop.
Homework for Parents
Importantly, role play is beneficial for parents too, allowing them to identify any struggles your child may be going through. To encourage role-play, we recommend you create a safe space, invest in affordable dress up, and for calmer playtime, our beautiful selection of environmentally-friendly wooden toys will prevent stimuli overload!
There’s no limit to creativity, most inventions being enjoyed today are as a result of someone’s imagination. Remember, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’