Supporting a Child's Emotional Development through Pretend Play

Supporting a Child’s Emotional Development through Pretend Play

Pretend City’s Play-Based Mission supports Health Emotional Development

Pretend City Children’s Museum exists to support healthy child development through play-based learning. In our blog, we cite various scholarly articles that reveal the essential correlation between play and emotional learning.  

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Play is not frivolous; it enhances brain structure and function and promotes learning.” Play is fundamentally important for learning 21st-century skills, such as problem-solving, collaborating and creativity which are critical for adult success. 

Emotional development is related to school readiness and adult success. Without the integration of age-appropriate play children, children are at risk for emotional issues such as tantrums, physical outbursts, social delays, and deregulation. Through fun parent-child play opportunities at the Museum, Pretend City educates caring adults and the community at large, about the critical importance of Play in healthy child development. 

How does Play help Children Develop?

Children need to develop various skills to optimize their development and manage toxic stress and negative emotions. Research demonstrates that developmentally appropriate play with parents and peers is a singular opportunity to promote the social-emotional, cognitive and self-regulation skills that build a prosocial brain. 

When children properly develop their emotional competence, they are more likely to sustain learning. Children can also learn to engage in empathetic and prosocial behaviors, express appropriate emotions and use strategies to deal with negative emotions. This includes dealing with anger, sadness, or anxiety. (Emotions) 

How is Pretend Play Essential to Healthy Child Development?

“Pretend play” with other children is essential to healthy development because it is an essential component in building the emotional well-being of children. When a child participates in play, they create a world that they can then begin to master. This allows children to act out scenarios, negotiate and collaborate amongst other children, practice decision-making skills and fully engage in interests they wish to pursue. Pretend City is the perfect “classroom” for children to build essential social-emotional skills and continue developing a healthy brain and body.  


Emotions. (n.d.). Retrieved from 

Yogman, M., Garner, A., Hutchinson, J., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R. M. (2018). The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children. Pediatrics142(3). doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-2058 


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