Imaginative play is an important part of the development process. Through pretend play, children nurture a variety of necessary skills to succeed in life. Nurturing your child’s ability to exercise their imagination supports the development of different social, emotional and language skills. One way to offer your child a means of using their imaginations is through playing with toys! There are plenty of toys designed to support your child as they create a variety of different imaginative scenarios. One of our favorites is puppets! Why puppets? Because, they supply children with endless possibilities to create their own imaginative stories, plot lines, characters and even problems to solve. The very voice of each character can set the scene for a variety of creative adventures. Placing a puppet on the hand of any child opens the door to a whole new world of imaginative tales. [caption id="attachment_882" align="alignnone" width="541"] Image from www.thatchicmom.com[/caption] Puppets can also provide an outlet for reflection, problem solving and even coping with stressors. In a recent article by National Deseret News, therapist Cheryl Hulburd explains how she was able to connect with her 4-year-old patient through puppet play. Hulburd, a social worker and practicing children’s play therapist, watched as the boy used two puppets to re-enact the fights that he witnessed between his parents. This gives puppet playtime a whole new meaning. Puppets can provide an outlet for happy, upset, confused and of course excited emotions through acting out well-known or never before seen characters. This one-of-a-kind imaginative outlet is a great way to foster a child’s expressive abilities. Through playful quests, make-believe obstacles and goal accomplishment, children can play their way through some of life’s biggest setbacks. Or they can simply turn a little puppet into a space cadet that lives on a comet. However you want to look at it, puppet play can be the key to unlocking an entire world of imaginative learning for children.