The Value of Imaginary and Fantasy Play in Early Childhood

Imaginary and fantasy play, an essential component of early childhood development and learning, holds tremendous value in fostering creativity, social skills, and cognitive development. According to the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) V2.0, play-based learning is fundamental to supporting children’s sense of identity, wellbeing, and their ability to learn effectively.

Promoting Creativity and Imagination Imaginary play encourages children to explore and create worlds beyond their immediate reality. This process enhances their creativity and imagination, which are crucial for problem-solving and innovative thinking in later life. By engaging in fantasy play, children learn to think abstractly, use symbols, and express their ideas in unique ways.

Enhancing Social Skills Through role-playing scenarios, children develop essential social skills such as communication, empathy, and cooperation. EYLF V2.0 highlights the importance of social interaction in learning and development. In fantasy play, children negotiate roles, follow rules, and work collaboratively, thus practicing social norms and understanding different perspectives.

Cognitive Development Fantasy play also supports cognitive development by allowing children to experiment with language, narratives, and complex concepts. According to the EYLF, such play experiences are vital for children to develop literacy and numeracy skills in a meaningful context. They learn to organise their thoughts, sequence events, and understand cause and effect.

In conclusion, imaginary and fantasy play are pivotal elements in early childhood education. They enrich children’s development in multifaceted ways, aligning with the goals of EYLF V2.0 to foster a holistic and inclusive learning environment.


How are you encouraging imaginary play in your setting?


Australian Government Department of Education. (2022). Belonging, Being & Becoming – The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia V2.0. Retrieved from Department of Education Website

Rushton, S. (2011). Neuroscience, Early Childhood Education and Play: We Are Doing It Right! Early Childhood Education Journal, 39(2), 89-94.

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