Make-believe plays are fundamental and vital elements in the overall development of the child. These are fantasy or imaginary plays in children usually between ages two and six, in which children practise their acquired knowledge of every day life and activities; they begin to play roles and mimic adult behavior as ways of thinking over what they have seen older people around them do. These plays contribute to the mental and emotional developments of children. Really all the developmental tendencies of the child are condensed in the plays.
Make believe plays contribute to the formation of schemata; creating a mirror through which they see and interpret events and human interactions within the locality. In this way, the imaginative ability of this child is built. Apart from this, these fantasies plays help in their intellects and learning. Children who engage in them tend to envision imaginary things easier, they can create understanding pictures faster and their learning speed is faster. This is simply because these plays help develop their thinking and imaginary faculties, and learning is more pleasurable.
Besides, role taking and sharing in these plays create a sense of belonging; this is the foundation for every human relationship. Although, they start first as solitary actor/actress, they soon realize the need to involve others. This helps them to understand the place of involving other people in their daily activities and achievements. This creates a connection between children. This way, a viable social life is incorporated to the growth process of the child, and this would continue into adulthood.
Children use these means to try behaviors. They test what they have learnt and seen. This helps them master such and create a feeling of control over such. However, there are unfavorable concepts as death, fear, rejection, injury, incorporated into their plays, with a view to expressing such; thus, they develop significant control over these formidable threats.[Singer, 1996]
Indeed, make-believe play is a creative way by which children develop their mental state, test their knowledge of life, try out behaviors and emotions, and engage in conversations with others. It is an essential part of their development.
Singer, Dorothy, coauthor of The House of Make-Believe: Children’s Play and the Developing Imagination