All children love to role-play and can spend hours pretending to be doctors, superheroes, or police officers. While role-playing may seem silly or look like a simple game to adults, it has immense benefits for children’s mental and intellectual development.
Role-play is one of children’s natural ways of learning. It allows them to make meaning of the world around them through their imagination and stories.
By acting out different scenarios, children develop important higher-order skills such as problem-solving, self-expression, critical thinking, communication, and creativity. They develop empathy by putting themselves in someone else’s shoes and gain a new perspective and appreciation for the role they are playing.
Play is also a natural habitat of imagination and is vital to developing curiosity and creative intelligence. While playing, children use their imagination to find unique and novel solutions to complex problems that may otherwise seem overwhelming to them. Play is powerful and role-play is full of opportunities for children to develop lasting life-skills. As Albert Einstein said,
“Play is the highest form of research.”
Play and learning don’t happen in discrete pockets of time.
In schools, playtime is separate from learning time. Instead of looking at playing and learning as isolated activities, blending pretend play into everyday learning is an ideal way to synthesize knowledge and skills.
Imagine playing a ‘grocery shop’ scenario inside the classrooms, where children get to determine the prices of their entire inventory and tabulate the grocery bills for their customers. By doing so, they will not only learn math concepts but also understand the physics of weights and learn to operate simple weighing machines. It will also foster a collaborative environment as children play together, resolve conflicts, and develop positive relationships.
Unfortunately, playful learning has been replaced with instructions, guided practice, and drills inside the classrooms. Toys have been traded for workbooks, and play-based activities have been sidelined as expendable diversions. If we wish to prepare our children into socially equipped, and innovative thinkers of the future, we must return role play to their lives.
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.” — Carl Jung
Children need room and freedom to play freely to help build their intellect and future-ready skills. Play is not a luxury, it is a necessity.
At Uable, play is at the center of learning. Through our role-play activities, young minds are exposed to real-world scenarios and they get to imagine themselves in various situations that require creative and out of the box thinking. Something as simple as putting on a pretend astronaut suit or using household objects to explore scientific phenomena helps learn concepts of STEM and Arts through a creative approach.
It not only helps in building a deeper understanding of the concepts but also encourages self-directed and self-determined learning. This is what makes role-playing such an invaluable part of Uable’s pedagogy. We believe in the power of play and we wish more and more children get to experience learning while playing.