Imaginative Play and Your Child's Brain



I’ve been thinking about imaginary play and how as a young child my daughters would collect rocks, stones, seeds, cones, moss and sticks. Being fascinated by animals, they created mini animal habitats using these found objects. They would return to this play and over time created a whole world of rivers, towns and little people. 

At school, we try to bring the outside in during our wintery rainy mornings. Little sticks, stones collected outside are transformed and when added to farm animals became a small farm. Turned over baskets and pebbles became a barn and moss became a mini forest. A glue gun and found objects can foster new directions with objects being transformed and integrated into their play. Found things easily become an amazing opportunity for kinders to connect nature with imaginative play.

Our lives are busy but when you commit time and some props for imaginary play, your child is boosting his brain and increasing his learning skills. Open-ended play builds cognitive skill in the brain called executive function. A few of the skills built through executive functioning are listening, waiting, self-control, self-motivation and cognitive flexibility-- all of which enable kinders to experience success in other curriculum areas like math. In our kinder classroom I plan for play by committing time, focusing my attention on the children while they play and looking for resources to encourage open ended play.

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