Fantasy Play: The Work of Childhood

Fantasy Play: The Work of Childhood

We’ve all heard that play is the work of childhood, and it’s true. And fantasy play in particular—pretending to be a dinosaur or a king or queen—is a kind of play that children especially benefit from.

Cheryl Johnson, M.Ed., former child development program coordinator at WSU Vancouver says, “Fantasy or imaginary play is crucial in a young child’s life. The research shows that when children pretend play, higher order thinking skills take place. They are enriching their language development, practicing negotiation skills, problem solving and learning social skills.”

Leah Pickering, owner of Kazoodles in Vancouver and a certified play expert through American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) agrees, saying that open-ended imaginative play is a recipe for happy, healthy kids. When children play without over-direction from adults, they enter the world of imagination. They’ll live in magical settings and pretend worlds. They’ll not only have fun, but they will find ways to work through real-life problems. They’ll learn to resolve conflicts through role play and work through any tendencies to behave in impulsive ways that would have consequences in real life.

Read the rest of this article in the full digital issue below.

Jan Pierce, M.Ed., is a retired teacher and reading specialist living in Vancouver. She specializes in parenting, education and family life pieces. She is the author of two books for homeschool families: "Homegrown Readers: Simple Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read" and "Homegrown Family Fun: Unplugged." Learn more at at

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