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Importance of Free Play, Part 2 - Symbolic Play Skills

In continuation with my article on the importance of free play, this article will explore the advantage of the importance of Symbolic Play skills.

Symbolic Play is also labelled as “Creative Play” or representational play. This play structure is adapted when the child learns to use objects as “pretend” manner, such as pretending to eat from an empty spoon. Piaget(1962) had explored the importance of such play and its effect in the developmental milestone in a child following which it is an interesting area of research by many academicians. Symbolic Play skills helps in development of language and cognition.

To summarise, the importance of symbolic field (Jeffree et al.,1977):

1. Develop thought and language;

2. Understand others, as feelings and roles are explored;

3. Develop creativity and learn to devise their own amusement;

4. Learns self-reflection: an important goal for many children with disability

Symbolic play offers an excellent opportunity for telescoping goals in several areas such as in an imaginative play of doll’s tea party, children can learn to:

1. Practice social skill (turn taking, sharing);

2. Communication (requesting, acknowledging, commenting);

3. Fine motor skills (pouring tea in the cups, using pincer to grab small objects);

4. Self-help (feeding self, washing dishes);

5. Gross motor (walking or crawling to the sink);

6. Cognitive (Sequencing the event, handling one to one correspondence);

In my next article, I will be sharing the checklist with strategies to enhance the development of symbolic play skills and how to build goals based on the observations.

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