Table of Contents
The pretend activities comprise the subset of play engagement that is characterized by the “as-if” stance and is layered over the reality. Pretend play can involve projecting imaginary properties and using definite objects as if they were something different. Researchers have studied the peculiarities of pretend play for many years. That induced them to agree with the crucial contribution of the activity to the development of children. However, the current studies showed that the positive influence of pretend play is more effective in a complex approach. Thus, the paper is using the analyses of two academic articles which study the role of pretend play in the development of children and its influence on self-regulation, creativity, language development, and cognition that can help to improve its effect on intellectuality.
The Analysis of the First Article
The first article called “The Impact of the Pretend Play on Children’s Development: A Review of the Evidences” was written by Lillard et al. The authors defend a position that pretend play is a significant factor that positively influences the development of children. Many people consider physical play to be the most effective kind of games that can positively influence children (Lillard, Lerner, Hopkins, Dore, Smith, & Palmquist, 2013). However, such kinds of games have no connection with pretend play, and they do not require the manipulation of emotions and ideas that comprise a critical role in the child’s social and cognitive development (Lillard et al., 2013). The authors present numerous theories and research that prove the value of the imaginative play that is a vital component of children’s development (Lillard et al., 2013). The systematic research explicitly demonstrates a great number of benefits of the children’s involvement in pretend games, beginning with the age of two until seven (Lillard et al., 2013). The studies demonstrated the cognitive advantages, such as increased use of language subjunctives, adjectives, and future tenses. The researchers also mention the “theory of mind” that is based on the awareness that the individual’s thoughts may differ from the views of other people and that there are numerous perspectives that make every person closer to imaginative play (Lillard et al., 2013). The article presents the research of psychologist Sandra Russ, who discovered various affective and cognitive processes that are associated with the pretend play. The research is based on the study of games that involve fantasy, symbolism, cognitive integration, and divergent thinking. She identified that pretend play allows for the expression of both negative and positive emotions and supports the ability to integrate emotions into cognition (Lillard et al., 2013). The article also uses the investigation of Berk, Hirsh-Pasek, and Ogan who assert that pretend play significantly influences self-regulation, reducing aggression and developing civility and empathy (Lillard et al., 2013). For example, when children use toys to introduce invented scenarios, numerous perspectives occur naturally that allow children to learn the social skills, such as communication, and exercise solutions to social problems (Lillard et al., 2013). Pretend play positively influences the formation of creativity and cognitive flexibility. The expert Russ has found that early imaginative play is associated with an increase in creative performance (Lillard et al., 2013). The authors also mention that the majority of the Nobel Prize winners said that they used to play games that involved make-believe worlds during their childhood (Lillard et al., 2013).
The authors made a conclusion that the effective kind of pretend play can serve as an explanation of the parent concerned with the features of nature, various social issues, and listening to stories at bedtime (Lillard et al., 2013). The researchers emphasize that parents should induce the desire of their child to use pretend games and show them how interesting it is. The greatest mistake is to allow the constant viewing of TV programs, usage of computer, and engagement of all free time a child has with the sport or other activities. Children should have free time for the development of imagination and invention of various games using simple toys (Lillard et al., 2013).
The Analysis of the Second Article
The second article “Pretend Play is Important but its role in Learning is Complex” is written by Snow and is based on the investigation performed by experts from the University of Virginia who investigated the role of pretend play in the development of children (Snow, 2012). The researchers concluded that games are not crucially important in the early childhood and do not drive children’s development, because they are not significant contributors to the numerous early childhood outcomes. The game can have a positive influence only in the case of its complex application. The author Snow agrees with experts and supports their position concerning the importance of complex usage of pretend play (Snow, 2012). The specialists made their conclusion based on the investigation that helped to identify the relationship between pretend play and a range of early childhood outcomes that included academic and cognitive aspects as constituent parts of social outcomes (Snow, 2012). Thus, the study represented three significant hypotheses. The first hypothesis is focused on the view that pretend play is a fundamental power of early childhood but its role is in the ethos of games. The second theory insists that pretend play can contribute to the outcomes, but it is not the strongest factor. Such approach is called an “equifinality” (Snow, 2012). The third hypothesis states that pretend play is not completely responsible for the development of all areas. The experts are sure that pretend play is epiphenomenal. That means its sub product nature acting singularly does not contribute to the development of children, and its influence can be significant only in combination with other activities (Snow, 2012). Snow supports such a position and considers the view that the pretend play is the primary driver of children’s development across a range of other areas, extreme and false because the existing research cannot solidly prove it (Snow, 2012). The experts insist that there are no evidence that the games significantly contributes to the creativity and intelligence. However, the author agrees that pretend play has a positive influence on the development of language and social development. In contrast to the article “The Impact of the Pretend Play on Children’s Development: A Review of the Evidences”, Snow emphasizes that other games and various physical activities encourage children to discover their own talents and interests and positively influence the development of children (Snow, 2012). He also emphasizes that the wrong understanding of pretend play is used by many experts. They consider pretend play as something that can be realized in a form of playful relations with parents and be quietly directed by them (Snow, 2012). The author rejects such approach and considers that real pretend play should be spontaneous and not induced and directed by the other people.
The author concludes by describing two alternatives. The first alternative is that pretend play works in concept with other factors to support the development of children. The second theory is that pretend play arises out of the relationships between definite experiences and other areas of development (Snow, 2012). Thus, pretend play has a relation to the number of early childhood development outcomes and leanings, but it is not the sole source of the development in all areas. The expert considers pretend play to have more positive effects in complex with the study that can be reflected in playful learning that can have more positive influences (Snow, 2012). Thus, the author recommends teachers to include pretend play in the study process (Snow, 2012).
The analysis of both articles convinced the author of this paper that pretend play is a significant derivative in the development of children, but its influence is much more significant when it is applied in complex with other kinds of activities. According to the Vygotskian model, pretend play has two alternatives. The first alternative proves that the activity is one of the routes to children’s development. The second alternative shows that pretend play is something that goes along with important developments, but does not cause them (Snow, 2012). Numerous current investigations prove that the first theory represented in the article “The Impact of the Pretend Play on Children’s Development: A Review of the Evidences” is weaker because of the lack of grounded facts, which can cause the occurrence of biases (Snow, 2012). The investigation showed that pretend play in a complex approach, because learning can more effectively develop self-regulation, cognition, creativity, social skills, and language development (Snow, 2012). Only a combination of pretend play and study can make children focus on logical syllogism tasks. Contemporary research proves that pretend play is reflected in epiphenomenalism and goes along with positive developmental outcomes, but for the extraneous reasons it will not manage to serve any causal role in those outcomes (Snow, 2012). The analysis of pretend play’s contribution to the development of children proved that the majority of methods used in its evaluation are weak and full of ineffective statistical approaches that complicate the formation of a strong personal position. Besides, numerous researchers support the two points of view (Snow, 2012). However, analysis of both articles induced the author of this paper to incline more to the position that pretend play should be used in complex and be reflected in playful learning.
According to the analysis of numerous studies, pretend play has a significant role in the development of children, but its influence significantly increases when it is used in playful learning. Contemporary researchers analyzed 150 studies concerning pretend play and concluded that there is no solid evidence that pretend play leads to emotional regulation, problems solving, and creativity. Besides, the majority of studies have methodological flaws regarding pretend play as a reflection of the child-parent play or communication. Both analyzed articles support the position that pretend play is important for the development of children, but the second articles provides more convincing arguments that prove that the increase of the pretend play’s effectiveness in complex with learning happens, because a single activity can not contribute to the intellectual development of children.
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