Pretend play is necessary for a child to learn social behaviour. You may see your child pretending to be a fireman or a doctor. In these roles, he is acting out everyday scenarios and in doing so, understanding why things happen. Imaginative play like this should be highly encouraged. And, your child will be thrilled if you pretend with him.
Play also promotes a child’s social skills. Children playing together learn how to negotiate: “If you play with the red car, I will play with the green one.” They also learn how to cooperate and how to share. Believe it or not, those little arguments between children are teaching them social skills. If your child does not have siblings or is not in daycare, you may want to consider arranging play dates with other children.
Naturally, playtime is important for a child’s physical development. Large motor skills like running and jumping, as well as fine motor skills like balance and dexterity, benefit from play. When a toddler stacks blocks they are learning about the effects of gravity. When they learn to skip, they have mastered balance. These skills carry over to a child’s everyday activities. Additionally, physical play helps children deal with stress and will make them less cranky.