Imitation games in children: why is doing what grown-ups do so important?
As your baby grows, his interests and activities change...
Between the ages of 1 and 2, children take great pleasure in imitating the gestures and actions of those around them. Imagination takes over and they start to enjoy pretending. They will look after a doll in the same way as their parents look after them, or put little characters in everyday toys (cars).
Between the ages of 2 and 3, this becomes more pronounced, as children like to reproduce everyday routines with toys. They'll pretend to telephone, work on the computer, take their cuddly toys to the doctor, and so on. All this makes us adults smile, and can flatter our egos, or sometimes reflect a less glorious image back at us (I've had little 3-year-olds playing at being in the restaurant in my kitchen area, each with a fake telephone in his hand...). In all cases, imitation games are very important!
Imitation games are an essential activity in children's development. They encourage their social, linguistic, cognitive and creative development. By playing at imitating adults, children learn to understand the world around them and develop empathy and a sense of responsibility. It is important to support and encourage imitative play in children by providing them with an environment in which they can flourish.
Imitation games allow children to reproduce everyday situations and play different roles. By imitating adults, they learn to behave like them, understand social rules and develop a sense of responsibility. For example, by playing with dolls, children learn how to take care of a baby, feed it, change it and give it love. In this way, they develop their capacity for empathy and caring for others.
It's important (and I hope perfectly unnecessary) to stress that imitation games are not gender-specific. Boys can play with dolls just as well as girls can play with building blocks. It's essential to let children choose the games that interest them and not to limit them according to gender stereotypes.
Come on, let's make pasta with Pasta Mix?
Imitation games are also beneficial for children's cognitive development. For example, by playing shop, they learn to count, handle money and understand the basic concepts of economics. By playing construction games, they develop their problem-solving, planning and motor coordination skills and spatial awareness.
The Janod and Trixie brands, which specialise in games and products for children, offer adorable wooden toys to imitate the grown-ups! I particularly like Le Set à Soupe, where the mixer is larger than life and a great way to teach children about healthy eating.
These days, most wooden toys come with an FSC guarantee. But do you know what that means? Created in 1993, the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council®) is an international label guaranteeing that the wood used complies with sustainable forest management procedures. What's more, the toys are painted with water-based paints, so it's important to choose your wooden toys carefully (like all other toys, in fact). Choosing well-known brands such as Janod and Trixie guarantees compliance with European standards.
Toys that represent everyday life help children learn about the different jobs that surround them. Children have always loved having a fire engine, a builder's truck or a bin lorry, and that's probably never going to change!