Research shows that children use free play to express their emotions and learn to deal with their fears and scary experiences. Free play allows children to fully express themselves without anyone or anything holding them back, adding to the many benefits that children who play regularly experience.
Think back to your own childhood—how many imaginary kingdoms did you explore, how many spaceships did you launch, using your own mind and play?
To the kids around you, these games made sense. The shared, secret language of play, complete with unwritten rules and guidelines, helped each of you express yourselves in a way that made sense to the group. Through play and imagination, children create worlds beyond what we see in front of us.
Next time you see your kids playing, ask them to describe what they’re picturing, and dare yourself to imagine along with them. You might be surprised to discover a new-yet-familiar imaginary world unfolding right before your eyes.