The Art of Make-Believe
If you've noticed your child's doll has taken a seat at the dinner table, don't be alarmed. Kids love to play make-believe, and most experts encourage it, claiming that it helps kids develop emotionally, socially, and even cognitively.
When kids engage in pretend play, they may use an object to represent something else while putting it into motion, such as picking up a block and pretending it's a car. If the car crashes into the wall, the child learns there's a reaction to his action.
Your child may also participate in role playing, where he assumes a character (Mom, Dad, a superhero). In doing so, he'll learn empathy and basic social skills such as taking turns. Your child might mimic real-life situations, such as making "lists" or taking a message when he's on the "phone" -- these tasks challenge his cognitive thinking skills.
You can help encourage pretend play by collecting a few essentials to help him build his fantasy world: paper, pencils, markers, stuffed animals and dolls, old telephones, magazines.