Games for kids can be especially beneficial for child development when it includes pretending.
Games for kids can include traditional board games; however, when it comes to speech, language, and occupational skills, dramatic play can facilitate progress in all these areas. It is an essential part of growth. When children are infants they engage in holding and banging toys – the rudiments of understanding cause and effect, emergence of motor skills, attention, and overall development. By the time a child is several years old play should become more advanced; that is, children begin to engage in dramatic play.
Dramatic play occurs when a child acts out scenarios such as pretending to be an animal, a mother or a princess. This type of play is central to children’s healthy development and learning during the preschool years.
Dramatic play can include activities such as dress up, pantomime, using objects differently than intended (such as using a banana for a phone), acting in roles alone or in groups, and building of settings. There is much research that shows evidence of dramatic play contributing to increased physical strength, fine and gross motor coordination, speech and language acquisition, problem solving, creativity, executive functioning (planning), cooperation, pragmatics (turn-taking, sharing, social skills) and overall well-being of children.
So, bottom line – do not underestimate the value of play. Encourage it, and join in.