Toys that serve as a springboard for the imagination offer endless benefits to preschoolers. "During this stage, young children begin to use symbols to represent objects and events, particularly as they learn how to use language," says Cohen. Pretend play also strengthens the language skills they've already acquired, adds Fujimoto. "It reinforces scripts or predictable language that is often said by a particular person. For instance, a police officer's script may include, 'How can I help you?' And a doctor's script may include, 'Stick out your tongue,'" she says. Giving your child a play doctor or veterinarian kit to mend their toys and stuffed animals is a wonderful way to facilitate imaginative play while reinforcing their language skills.
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