Several years ago I was in a serious car accident with my three children and a friend’s daughter. We were travelling down a mountain road on our way home in the rain when a sports car lost control and hit us head on. I still remember the sounds of my kids’ screams like it was yesterday. I was very concerned that this event would have more than just physical repercussions, I was afraid it would have emotional ones too.
About a week after our accident, my children started putting cushions at the base of our stairs and sliding down the staircase to crash into the cushioned landing. This was a bit disconcerting at first, I mean wasn’t I just in the Emergency Room?! A Child Psychologist friend reassured me. My kids were using play to re-enact a terrifying time in a way that was safe. Through play they were creating a way to handle and process the trauma.
This is just one reason I love open-ended, imaginative play… and another reason I love Sprig so much. We really work to develop toys that allow open-ended play. We know that imaginative play creates creative connections in the brain that allow for problem solving. Imaginative play allows children to try out professions by pretending to be doctors, police officers, adventurers and more. Imaginative play promotes social skills. Imaginative play allows developing brains to problem solve by trying out solutions and, as we learned in our family, to re-enact fearful situations with safe outcomes. I hope more companies join our bandwagon. We need more toys that encourage pretend play not less.
I would love to hear your stories… How has play benefitted your children? Comment below or tweet me: @kimatsprig.