The benefits of imaginative play for children

The benefits of imaginative play for children

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There are so many different ways that children can play, which also changes as they get older. Imaginative play, when children take on some kind of role, can really help their development. Discover some of the benefits of imaginative play and how role play toys from can help.


Imaginative play is great to help children with problem-solving. Children need to be able to work things out for themselves sometimes and by playing, whether with an adult or on their own, they’ll be able to develop this skill.

For example, children love to play doctors or vets, giving them the chance to learn how to fix someone or something.

Erin playing with the Melissa & Doug Animal Care Activity Centre
Melissa & Doug Animal Care Activity Centre

Costumes and accessories

Depending on the kind of play your child likes, using additional costumes or accessories can really enhance their experience. The Melissa & Doug Animal Care Activity Centre is great on its own, however, adding the Melissa & Doug Examine & Treat Pet Vet Play Set will give your child many more options. By including things like a vet’s bag, plaster cast, soft animals and pretend medicines your child will be able to think of more ways to play, and more ways to fix their animals.

Wearing a vet’s costume or a doctor’s coat would also be a fun idea to go with this kind of play.

Erin doing an x-ray on a cat
Accessories from the Melissa & Doug Examine & Treat Pet Vet Play Set

Creating everyday situations

Sometimes it can be challenging to teach a child about everyday situations without them experiencing them first-hand. This is where imagination and role-play can really help. This could be anything from playing with a kitchen, making a supermarket at home or maybe pretending to go on holiday somewhere.

The Melissa & Doug Star Diner Restaurant Play Set has everything you’ll need to create your own restaurant at home. Restaurants, cafes, and diners are all places so many people go to regularly and there are so many different things to do while you’re there. Children can learn how to order food, how people should act in these places and how to pay for food.

Melissa & Doug Star Diner Restaurant Play Set
Melissa & Doug Star Diner Restaurant Play Set

Physical development

Physical development might not be something you think about much when it comes to the benefits of imaginative play. However, physical development can mean a lot of different things.

By role-playing children can develop things like fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and gross motor development. Imaginative play can often mean running around while pretending to drive a car or similar but it can also mean smaller actions like buttoning a doll’s dress or feeding them.

For smaller movements, the Little Tikes First Food Delivery Set is fantastic. Children are able to put toppings onto pizza slices, use chopsticks with Asian takeout foods or dip into guacamole.

Increases creativity

Role-playing can really help children to develop their creativity, which can be done in so many different ways. This could be something like children creating their own world in which they want to play and making up characters and backstories for them.

Costumes and make-up can be a great way of adding to these creative worlds. By using sets such as the All-in-One Beauty Makeup Backpack, children will be able to continue the creativity in their game and use it on themselves or family and friends. With make-up the possibilities are endless; dancers, princesses, villains, witches… you can do it all!

All-in-One Beauty Makeup Backpack
Shimmer ‘n Sparkle Insta Glam All-in-One Beauty Makeup Backpack

Encouraging independence

It can be hard sometimes when children feel that they need someone to play with all of the time. By introducing role-playing games and activities early on in childhood, children will be able to learn how to do some things for themselves. It can also teach them to think independently, without having someone else lay out the game and rules for them.

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