Growing up my brothers and I would get out our Star Was action figures and reenact the Star Wars movies.
- We did this every Saturday.
- We were teenagers.
wereare a little nerdy.
- We were homeschooled.
Not only was our Star Wars reenactments lots of fun, research suggests that this kind of imaginative play is actually very beneficial. An article in Psychology Today entitled The Need for Pretend Play in Child Development, speaks to the benefits of pretend play for children.
“Actual studies have demonstrated cognitive benefits such as increases in language usage including subjunctives, future tenses, and adjectives. The important concept of “theory of mind,” an awareness that one’s thoughts may differ from those of other persons and that there are a variety of perspectives of which each of us is capable, is closely related to imaginative play (Jenkins & Astington, 2000; Leslie, 1987; Singer & Singer, 1990; Singer & Singer, 2005).”
Basically, when my brothers and I had to use our communication skills to resolve disagreements about who got to be Han Solo or how the next scene should play out, we were growing and developing our social skills. The article says it this way:
“. . .Make-believe games are forerunners of the important capacity for forms of self-regulation including reduced aggression, delay of gratification, civility, and empathy.”
Play is the work that a child is tasked with performing. And through imaginative “pretend” play, children learn key social skills that will help them succeed all throughout their life.
One of our core concepts at Demme Learning is the power of multi sensory engagement. We think it’s best for children to have tangible objects that they can interact with in their learning. This is why we emphasize the blocks in teaching and learning mathematical concepts.
Looking back on those Star War reenactments, I am convinced that those action figures enriched our play, providing tangible objects that enhanced our learning. Whether it’s dolls or action figures or a pretend vacuum cleaner, toys are an essential element of pretend play. But then again, as any nerd knows, the difference between a stick and a lightsaber is the sound effects.
Happy Star Wars day and may the Fourth Be With You!