All children are born with an innate desire to play. Whether they are shy, outgoing, intellectual or deeply thoughtful by nature, after a few moments of play they will soon be lost in the moment. Studies show that play is an essential part of the way that most children, and even far into adulthood, learn and retain skills and information. Even if you leave a child on their own for any length of time, most will soon start to invent a game of some sort to keep themselves entertained and their brain active.
Often, you might even see a lone child acting out their version of a real-life scene that they’ve witnessed their parents or older siblings portray – either with dolls or in their imagination.
Role play helps turn a good child into a better adult
Any type of play creates a strong learning state of mind for a child. But play that has been designed with specific objectives and aims can be significantly more effective. Role play is one such hyper-learning activity. Here are three of the key benefits of encouraging role play games among young children.
1) Empathy: Experiencing something is clearly a more powerful way of imparting ideas and lessons than simply being told information. When a child is involved in role-playing games, whether they are playing the part of a parent, a teacher or another child, they get to experience another point-of-view. By walking in someone else’s shoes for a while, they will be given a small taste of the emotions and feelings imparted by various scenarios and behaviours. This sort of powerful playtime helps to develop a child’s appreciation of different perspectives and priorities.
2) Retention: When somebody carries out an action, rather than simply being told about it, they retain the lesson in a more substantial way. Discovery is also a stronger aid to learning and remembering than being presented with an idea. Role play games encourage children to explore, investigate and experiment with new environments. In this mode they are more engaged with the subject matter and, as a result, will learn much quicker.
3) Engagement: Being ‘in character’ helps children who are less outgoing to step out of their comfort zone. This can enhance and encourage better communication and language skills, while also creating a heightened awareness of themselves and others. As children use role play to build their self-confidence, their newfound belief should easily transfer to their everyday lives.
Other benefits of role play games for children include: being able to make sense of real-life situations, sparking creativity and imagination, broader cultural education, better social skills and simply encouraging them to learn.
If you would like to learn more about how role play games can help children, or if you would like some ideas about the sort of role play games that work best, get in touch. Alternatively, you can have a look at some of our resources and course information on the website.