Why is Creative Play Important for Children’s Development?

Creative activities provide a space for children to develop emotionally, mentally, physically, and socially. Teaching them to express new ideas through a creative activity helps to develop their brains and increases their confidence.

It is important to expose children to different styles of creative expression so they can discover how they can best express their thoughts and emotions. Creative and innovative play equipment encourages problem-solving and improves muscle memory and dexterity when used repetitively.

In this guide, we’ll offer an overview of what creative play is and why it’s important in improving your child’s development. 

What is creative play?

Creative play involves the literal creation of things using various materials or the creation of imaginary worlds and scenarios through role-playing and imaginative play. Almost all forms of play can be transformed into creative play through imagination.

Benefits of creative play for childhood development

Psychologists have discovered that creative play is just as important in childhood development and learning as structured lessons in the classroom. Play is considered a child’s work and should not be neglected.

One of the many benefits of creative play is that it helps children adapt to change and think outside the box, allowing them to navigate difficult situations later in life.

Creative play develops the imagination, assists with social and emotional development, improves hand-eye coordination and enhances cognitive skills, amongst other things. 

We’ve elaborated on the benefits of creative play on the different aspects of a child’s development below:

Physical development

While creative play is often associated with cognitive development, it also plays an essential role in the physical development of children.

  • Fine motor skills – Aspects of artistic and pretend play such as painting, drawing, and dressing up can all improve a child’s fine motor skills. Practising holding a paintbrush, drawing with a pencil, or doing up buttons increases dexterity and boosts confidence.
  • Gross motor skills – These are developed through active creative play with games and other imaginative activities that require children to be physically active. Enrolling your child in drama classes can also assist with developing their gross motor skills.
  • Hand-eye coordination – Creative play helps children develop their hand-eye coordination through imaginative games such as pirates (sword fighting) or playing in the sandpit. These skills are also improved through artistic expressions such as painting or cutting-and-sticking.
  • Increased muscle and bone strength – Outdoor play equipment provides space for children to use their body weight to move around, allowing muscles to grow and increasing bone density. Bone density and muscle strength both play an important role in a child’s physical health and development.

Emotional development

One of the benefits of creative play is the development of emotional skills. While physical development plays a role in maintaining a healthy emotional state, acquiring emotional skills assists your child with self-regulation and the appropriate expression of emotions. Some of the skills assisted by creative play have been listed below.

  • Identification of feelings – By engaging in pretend or imaginative play, children learn to identify and navigate various emotions. Identifying emotion is an essential aspect of developing emotional comprehension.
  • Expression of emotions – Creative play allows children to explore and express their emotions in a fun and supportive environment, helping them to develop basic skills associated with managing and positively expressing emotions. It provides a positive outlet for pent-up emotions.
  • Emotional resilience – Young children may struggle with successfully expressing their creative ideas in the early years, and they likely find this emotionally distressing. Exposure to these negative feelings allows them to learn emotional resilience and teaches them to persevere through times of adversity.

Intellectual development

Introducing a variety of creative activities from a young age encourages children to come up with their own ideas. You can encourage creative development by introducing sensory play at a very young age. Children love to learn, and the intellectual benefits of creative play are plentiful.

For a deeper insight into intellectual development, discover read our guide on how play helps children’s intellectual development.

  • Develops imagination Creative play fosters imagination and creativity, allowing children to apply their problem-solving skills to various imaginary scenarios. Children like to pretend-play with imaginary friends and create stories to express themselves. If your little one needs some assistance with ideas for role-play, discover our handy guide 10 role-play ideas for kids.
  • Assists with language acquisition – Playing dress-up and participating in creative activities with other children helps with language acquisition and can improve a child’s communication abilities.
  • Improves memory – If little ones participate in pretend play, they need to remember the various sequences of events that occur in the imagined scenario to ensure logical progression.
  • Develops logic – Creative activities, especially those involving sequencing, assist a child in understanding logic. Introducing play equipment that requires activities to be completed in a particular order helps children develop logical thinking.
  • Improves concentration – Creative expression through various art forms requires concentration and provides a constructive and enjoyable way for children to boost their concentration skills. Improved concentration skills will have many benefits in everyday life as well as in their academic and professional lives later on.
  • Problem-solving – Pretend play can promote creative thinking, which can help children to improve their problem-solving skills. A creative thinking process can assist in solving complex problems that are encountered in everyday life.

Social development

If you want to assist your child’s development of social skills, you can encourage creative play sessions and organise play dates with their friends. Children learn best through active participation, so group play has many social benefits for development.

  • Improve social skills – Encouraging creative play in a group setting helps children to improve their social interaction skills and communication skills through interacting with other children and learning to involve others in their imaginative play scenarios.
  • Sharing – Participation in creative activities with other children helps a child develop critical sharing skills. These skills will make their behaviour in social settings more positive and improve social interactions when engaging in various forms of play or participating in everyday activities.

FAQs about creative play

What are some examples of creative play?

Creative play can take many forms. Music is one type, and activities such as playing musical instruments and singing songs are an excellent way to include this into your child’s routine. 

Artistic play is another form and includes painting, collage, drawing and modelling with play dough. You can use household items and accessible materials to create art with your child at home.

Imaginative play is a great way to encourage creativity in your child. Dress-up games, storytelling, and other forms of made-up play routines all assist in boosting the imagination.

What are the benefits of creative play for childhood development?

Creative types of play can positively impact a child by improving their confidence, growing their emotional awareness, developing their social skills and boosting brain function. It creates a fun and supportive environment where they can learn and experiment.

It also teaches them how to express their thoughts, ideas and emotions in a comprehensible way. They can test out methods of communication and explore the viability of new ideas when interacting with others through creative activities or pretend play.

How does creative play enhance learning?

Through the enhancement of their concentration skills, creative play can increase a child’s ability to learn and absorb information. Engaging in a creative activity also provides a fun break from more academic activities and can help your child to develop an interest in challenging subjects such as mathematics and science.

Play also provides an emotional outlet for children. It can assist in releasing pent-up energy and emotions and encourage the processing of difficult life experiences and emotions, which may impact their ability to concentrate on their learning.

What is creative development?

Creative development is the development of one’s imagination and learning to engage in imaginative play. Learning to respond to different experiences and how to express ideas creatively also forms part of creative development, as does the development of artistic skills through experimentation with various media and art styles.

Creative development is not only limited to visual arts. It also includes the learning of music and dance. It is the development of various forms of creative expression and can be applied to all areas of life as you grow up.

Encourage creative play with Play Like Mum

Having the freedom to play helps children to develop physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually. 

Kids can stretch their imaginations, so why not help them with an interactive doll or one of the dolls prams and pushchairs from Play Like Mum? We have a vast selection of dolls prams and dolls pram accessories, from dolls carriage prams to dolls high chairs

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