Mindful Parenting: The Benefits of Imaginary Play
Molly Brett, Early Childhood Teacher at Kimberton Waldorf School, tells us why children need room for imaginative play.
The iconic images of childhood often produce nostalgia in adults: creating forts with blankets and chairs, designing a whole kingdom with blocks, long afternoons riding bikes around your neighborhood, and endless summer nights catching fireflies and roasting marshmallows while stars twinkle overhead.
Developmentally, children need play. Play causes the prefrontal cortex of the brain to become bigger and more efficient. The prefrontal cortex is the executive control center of the brain, and it’s from that center where we regulate emotions, make decisions, and problem solve. The brain is also strengthened by all the movement that play encourages and most importantly, the imagination is fortified and the child’s ability to dream big becomes a reality.
We can encourage young children’s play by making sure we leave time and space for it in our family’s lives. By not overscheduling and by being mindful to not interrupt our child while they play are important steps in promoting imaginative play. Playing outside, dressed for whatever the weather, also feeds the child and stimulates them differently than inside play.
Visit the Kimberton Waldorf School at an upcoming Open House:
Grades 1-8: May 7, 2019 at 8:30 am
PreK and Kindergarten: May 18, 2019
Photographs provided by Kimberton Waldorf School.