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Symbolic play: playing with reality to learn and grow

From 18 months to 10 years, symbolic play (or fictional play) allows children to explore their emotions, strengthen language, gain confidence and improve communication and social interaction skills.
"Let's pretend...". How many games start this way! Symbolic play (or fictional play) is widely adopted by children from early childhood. Its function is well known and recognised: it allows boys and girls to simulate situations and experiment with behaviour as if they were in the shoes of someone they know - a kindergarten teacher, mum, dad, etc. - or by imagining themselves in the shoes of a real or fictional character - a policeman, astronaut, doctor, vet, chef, superhero, princess, monster, lion, etc. - engaged in a very 'normal' activity. - You can play as a real or fictional character - policeman, astronaut, doctor, veterinarian, chef, superhero, princess, monster, lion, etc. - engaged in a very 'normal' activity, such as cooking or curing the sick, or in extraordinary adventures, such as searching for lost treasure on a distant planet.

But why is this way of playing so important for the growth of children from 18 months onwards?

The 4 functions of symbolic play in early childhood (and beyond)
Playing helps you grow, and symbolic play is no exception. On the contrary. It could be said that this mode of creative and autonomous play is among those that condense the greatest, as well as the most numerous and long-lasting advantages in this sense.

The game of make-believe in fact

  • Allows the child to gain experience within the protected, safe, fun and welcoming framework of play. I By imagining simple or complex, familiar or imaginary situations, children explore their senses and emotions, test themselves, and can interrupt the game at any time.
  • Develops imagination and problem solving skills. Symbolic play has no limits in terms of plot. Children can imagine any scenario without brakes or inhibitions. Each imagined obstacle confronts the child with the need to find new solutions to move the story forward.
  • Promotes autonomy, but also socialisation. "Pretending to..." is possible on one's own, but it is also fun in the company of others. Through the assignment of roles and tasks and the construction of a story to be lived together, children experience the first social interactions and learn models of effective communication. 
  • Improves language. Alone or in company, during symbolic play the child tells himself and the participants what is happening. Words become essential to shape the story in all its aspects, increasing involvement and fun.

NUYI for symbolic play

More and more parents recognise the value of make-believe play in the emotional, cognitive and behavioural development of their children. That's why they are looking for toys whose functions are not limited or predefined, but rather able to inspire and encourage symbolic play.

NUYI toys are designed to be complementary and functional to this way of playing and to expand its potential to the maximum.

Cute and soft, the NUYI ride-on toys - Patapata Puppy, Patapata Bunny and Kiddy Pony - are for example the ideal companions with whom to face many adventures in the saddle of fantasy, but also to start exploring the world through the five senses.

The NUYI Freja Set, consisting of a multifunctional table and matching chair, is not only suitable for drawing, reading and playing. Thanks to the accessories in the two kits, Wrangler and Kitchen, it is transformed in a few minutes into a completely different toy with which to immerse oneself in new realities and stories every day.

What are your children's favourite symbolic play activities? Please share them with us.

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