At Seven Branches Academy, we work hard to engage your children to progress through early childhood development by using age appropriate activities. One such activity is through imaginative play. As your child develops, their imagination develops too. Come by, call or email us to find out more. We are more than a babysitter, we are an educational ally!
Find the correct age group below for your child to see how they are progressing. If your child isn't where they need to be developmentally, we can help. Call us today to meet our wonderful teachers and to learn more about what we do and how we do it.
Infants learn by observing and imitating. They watch people around them do familiar tasks such as peek-a-boo, shaking a rattle, making noises, pushing/pulling objects, etc.. They watch these activities intently and then when they have some muscle control, they will mimic what they see others doing. Imaginary play for them is pivotal to their success in developing gross and fine motor skills.
One to two year olds have an increased curiosity of their world around them and will manipulate more objects to imitate their parents’ daily routines. They will pretend to feed a baby doll with a spoon, move objects around like a car and make engine noises, push a baby doll in a stroller, dress up, use their tools to fix something, etc… Imaginative play increases during this phase in their life and it’s so exciting to see their little faces light up when they do it right. Encouragement by parents and teachers are very important to develop their imagination and curiosity, along with more refined fine motor skills. They are just beginning to become social, so imaginative play will incorporate the social aspects of learning how to become a good friend.
Two to three year olds will use one object to represent another that may or may not be present. This is such a drastic move from mimicking Mom and Dad’s movements to making up their own playful and social activities. They may use a block as a phone and call someone, use a stick as a sword, use a chair as a car, have a tea party with their stuffed animals, and give their baby doll a pretend bath. All these activities are simple play where the child is able to move about freely, usually talks to themselves or a close friend. They are still developing hand-eye coordination, running and stopping so care will be taken to keep play areas free of debris.
Three to four year olds are an amazing group! They enjoy pretending, role playing and fantasy. It is often difficult for them to distinguish fantasy from reality. They’ll use clothing or other items to bring their fantasies to life. They will watch the same movie or listen to the same music over and over until they have memorized it or until they’ve identified with it enough to pretend to be their favorite character. As with 24-36 month olds, pretend play is very important to their development to know who they are, what they like to eat, what they identify with, who they like to play with and what their favorite toy is. Focusing their dramatic play into learning lessons of how to share, how to love, how to say you’re sorry encourages them to become well-rounded individuals with a solid foundation for the next level of their development.
Four to five year olds are getting more complex in their imaginative play. They can now distinguish between fantasy and reality. They love being read to, exploring new worlds in their minds and then acting them out. They now have more organized play that will invite their peers, parents, and teachers to join in. As they imagine they are a princess or can fly, in their minds they know that’s not reality. The attention spans are increasing, therefore their pretend times are longer and more elaborate. Again, focusing their pretend play, reading books, watching moral-based movies will direct them into learning model behaviors to take into Kindergarten.