“Children learn as they play. More importantly, in play, children learn how to learn.” – O. Fred Donaldson
Pretend play is an essential part of a child’s development. Children learn from observing, imagining, and doing. When we think of playtime, we usually associate it with running around and letting off some steam. These forms of play are important, but they are not the only forms of play.
There has been a lot of research and learning through play is recognised by researchers as an essential method of development for toddlers.
In a play school, you will often see kids enjoying imaginative play; zooming around a piece of paper in the air pretending it to be an airplane or singing into a comb thinking it’s a mic. Or running around the classroom pretending to be an engine to the train.
Children use objects to represent something else, or assign themselves and others roles and then act them out. It might seem very simple but by pushing back the barriers of reality, kids are learning important life skills.
We spoke to Rashi and Vicky from Birch & Bug to shed some light on this topic for us and here is what they had to say,
Why is playtime so important for kids?
Play is our brains favourite way of learning. It not only builds pathways for thinking but also creativity, flexibility, collaboration and empathy among many other lifelong skills. One must understand that Play is not just about having fun but also about taking risks, experimenting, and testing boundaries. If you look at many toys today, they are guiding children to think about things in a certain way. Many of them designed to sell more toys rather than fuel imagination. Play is crucial to fuelling and nurturing imagination. It is also how we begin to form our perceptions of the world.
How do you select toys for your kids?
The first and foremost concern should be safety. The next important thing is if the toy is going to help your child grow and develop. The child’s personal likes and dislikes matter too. Choose a toy that makes them happy – not you. It’s always good to determine the child’s needs interests and abilities. At Birch & Bug; we like to promote wooden toys as they are made from natural resources, plastic-free, don’t require any batteries, and have a lesser carbon footprint. We want to leave the world a better place for our children.
Benefits of pretend play
- Open-ended and autonomous play is so crucial and beneficial. We should encourage children to play, slowly, without time limits.
- Suggest material that encourages, invites, and stimulates the creation of several fantastic, realistic, and invented little worlds.
- It helps them find their own way of thinking and looking for solutions to problems rather than being handed the solutions to problems.
We believe that natural, open-ended Montessori-inspired toys are the best way to encourage creativity and curiosity, stimulate imagination and inspire children to honor the beauty and uniqueness of nature. Our toys are timeless and can be re-discovered at all different stages of childhood.
Birch and Bug products are sustainable and each item is individually shaped with love and care. The toys are made from ethically sourced Beechwood and Ivory wood. They are then hand-painted with non-toxic paints. All the materials used are natural and sustainable. Touch is one of our primary senses. We learn much through how things feel to touch. Wood is warm, natural, and very distinct from plastic. It connects us deeper with our world and with each other. Also, the carbon footprint matters, and by using natural and sustainable resources and materials a significant impact can be made. Our packaging is also plastic-free and none of our toys require batteries.
We as parents should try to - shop small, shop sustainable, shop wooden toys, and accept hand-me-downs. We should encourage children to connect with natural materials, help them discover their creativity, and understand the importance of open-ended play.