Stages of Play

What is Creative Play and Why Your Child Needs it!

Why your child needs creative play

Let your child take control back of their play by encouraging creative play! In this post, I will tell you what creative play is, why it is important, and how you can encourage your child to participate in it. 

Creative play provides children with the ability to explore and recreate while expressing themselves.

It is a very natural form of play where children get to model their experiences and the world around them.

Your child can take something as simple as a box and turn it into many different things. For example, a box can be a house, a stove, a garage, a car, a bathtub, and so on.

There are so many possibilities, and I’m sure your child can come up with more ideas than I ever could!

So, why is it important?

Creative play helps our children develop in several different areas. 

  1. Cognitive Development 
  2. Physical Development
  3. Emotional Development
  4. Social Development

Keep reading! I’ll tell you how each area is benefited by creative play. 

1. Cognitive Development

Have you ever heard of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development?

Jean Piaget was interested in how children reacted to their environment but took it to the next level by considering an understanding of a child’s knowledge.

There are several stages of Piaget’s theory, but for now, we will only discuss one.

The preoperational stage is geared to children of preschool age (3-6). These children can use their memory and imagery skills.

Have you ever saw your child mimic a TV-show or attempt to reenact it? They are using their imagery and memory skills during this period of creative play.

Also, children can strengthen their language skills and build new vocabulary. They practice these skills during creative play with others and private speech.

Did you know private speech is when a child talks to themselves and it is something you should encourage? Young children need this to help process their thoughts! 

Lastly, through creative play, your child can learn problem-solving skills. As children can express their imaginations, they can solve problems they encounter. For instance, a child may be placing a toy in a small box, but it doesn’t fit. You can see them solve this problem as they find a larger container to place the toy in.
This will set the stage for skills they will need later on such as, adaptation to change, risk-taking, curiosity, flexibility, and retaining of knowledge.

2. Physical Development 

Creative play encourages your child to get moving! This is perfect for strengthening gross and fine motor skills. 

As your child builds or creates an art project, they are strengthening the muscles in their hands and fingers. This sets the stage for skills they will require later on, such as holding a pencil. 

In addition, creative play boosts jumping ability, strength, balance, and coordination. All of these skills are important to reach certain milestones

Fine Motors Skills consists of small movements that occur with the hands, wrists, and fingers.

Gross motor skills consists of large movements using arms, legs, or the entire body. 

3. Emotional Development

Children can touch base with their emotions through creative play. This empowers them to express their feelings and reenact situations that may have occurred to them.

In addition, children can begin building upon different emotional skills such as regulation, empathy, and sympathy.

4. Social Development

You will witness social milestones being reached as your child interacts with other children.

Creative play paves the way for friendships to build and enriched communication. Your child will learn how to communicate properly, read other’s emotional cues, and participate in things like sharing and turn-taking. 

How to Encourage Creative Play

Here are several ways to encourage creative play:

  • Go to the park.
  • Play outside.
  • Provide your child with open-ended toys.
  • Always have crafting supplies.
  • Ask what they want to do! 


Some Types of Creative Play

Role-Playing – This is a great way to bring creative play out of children. Ask them to act like a parent, an animal, a baker, or even an airplane. 

Mix It Up – Place out a large bowl and several little bowls of different ingredients. Ask them if they would like to make their own food creation. This is one of my daughter’s favorite things to do! She enjoys putting on her own baking show. Warning: This can get messy!

Build a Tent – Build a tent out of blankets and chairs. This tent might be your child’s little campsite or it may be their new pretend playhouse. 

Put on a play! – Provide your child with some props and put on a play. They can direct it in whatever manner they see fit. You could also put on a concert where they can sing their favorite songs!

Craft Activities – Children love creating their own world through artwork. Provide them with paper, pipe cleaners, tape, paint, etc and you will their creativity take shape. 

Dress up clothes – These are perfect for creative play moments. Maybe, your child will become a princess or a doctor. They may even want to dance to music afterward. 

Tip: Save different scraps of paper, string, food containers, and so on. These are perfect for creative moments! 

What are some of your favorite creative play activities?

Tell me in the comments below!

Delightful Preschool

2 thoughts on “What is Creative Play and Why Your Child Needs it!”

    1. Hey Katherine,
      You are so right! Creative play is a very important topic that is often forgotten about. At least he still is enjoying his legos! Legos are a great resource for creative play.

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