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I’m a super pirate seeking treasures with the help of my compass and my map!
I’m a fairy that spreads magic with my magic wand to make everyone happy!
I’m a little Indian, guardian of Mother Nature, and with my bow and arrow I look after my tribe!
I’m a beautiful princess, I live in a wonderful castle and I love to spread flowers everywhere I go!
Who hasn’t imagined to be such a character? And who hasn’t seen children playing like this?
The game of make believe is played by children of all ages. And that is very good thing! Playing make believe allows children to build up an awareness of the real world, since by playing they simulate real life situations and this allows them to better understand the world they live in.
Playing make believe
Playing allows the child to move from a passive to an active role, allowing fears to be confronted and overcome. In this imaginary world, children set out a path to acquire power and in this path they live their superhero moment in which they have the power to rule their own fate. “By playing, the child place itself in a role of power, in which it can dominate villains and scary situations that would otherwise make it feel vulnerable and unsafe”. (KISHMOTO, 2003, p.66)
Make believe allows the child to solve both present and past problems, contributes to the acquisition of decision making skills and reinforces the child’s autonomy without the fear of adult impositions. With the game of make believe children increase their ability to plan and it becomes easier for them to accept social, family and school rules that are imposed to children every day. This process results in increased confidence and happiness for children.
According to Winnicott, pediatrician and psychoanalyst, “It’s by playing and solely by playing that the individual, child or adult, can be creative and use his full personality, and it’s only by being creative that the individual discovers his true self.”
We want children to play and we want them to play a lot! Play make believe on their own, with their siblings, their cousins, and their parents! Playing make believe is a natural process in the development of every child and we, adults, can stimulate it even more by letting ourselves be involved in our children’s games. In this game everybody wins!