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Big Benefits of Playing with Little Friends

Big Benefits of Playing with Little Friends

Watching the living room transform into a jungle, a hospital,  or even a school yard, where teacups become swimming pools and couch pillows become mountains, is a magical and fascinating thing to witness. Watching your child create characters and worlds based on their daily life and interactions is not only wildly entertaining, (and perhaps a bit messy) but this activity develops the critical skills of storytelling and literacy in children.

Interacting and playing with small figures, such as our HABA Little Friends collection, encourages this dynamic storytelling play in children. Playing with small figures helps children develop their creativity, imagination, and communication skills, as they create and act out their own intricate stories.

One of the benefits of using small figures for storytelling play is that they allow children to create their own worlds and narratives. Children can imagine different scenarios and characters, and use the figures to act out their stories. Perhaps they are feeling frustrated with a school situation or a sibling encounter, working through it in play, allows them to see an outcome or view the scenario from a different and more objective lens.

Another benefit of using small figures for storytelling play is that it helps children develop their communication skills. By narrating their stories and interacting with others, children learn to express themselves clearly and effectively. They also learn to listen to others and incorporate their ideas into their own narratives, which helps them develop their social skills.

One way to further encourage this narrative element is to work with your child to write the story they have created down on paper. This is a technique used often in Reggio Emilia schools, where the teacher writes the exact story as narrated by the child and then the child illustrates and brings the story to life. This process also makes it easier for kids to let go of their play set ups when it’s time to vacuum the living room!

Follow your child’s interests and add small friends that reinforce things they have recently learned about or are trying to understand. If they have a new sibling, add a few baby items to the small world play. If your family recently took a trip, bring small souvenirs home to incorporate and work into their dramatic play. Sometimes you will overhear your children working out things that might’ve happened at school or that they witnessed. Fight the urge to intervene and give your child space to work things out on their own.

Learning about emotions, developing stories, understanding dramatic play, using their imaginations…these are just a few of the benefits of this type of play. But it also helps children develop fine motor skills, as they manipulate the figures and move them around. This can help improve their hand-eye coordination and dexterity, as well as their ability to focus and concentrate.

Savor this time of amazing stories! Listening to your child come up with worlds of play never gets old and the life skills they develop by playing with these small friends will serve your children well as they continue to navigate the world around them.

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