And as word spread of the magical leaves the child had been given, the other children spread out through the forest, looking for magic of their own.
As they searched, they played, and they laughed and they told grand stories about how they would tame the fierce dragon with the help of magical mermaids and crystal balls and wily wizard’s charms, and save the kingdom.There is nothing more magical that children’s imaginings! And, as it turns out, the strength of their make believe fuels many of the protective factors for resilience.
Collaboration, problem-solving, and conflict resolution feed into resilience, and are present in all rich children’s play. But more than that, there is something special about “make believe” We’ve learned that it is not only the foundation of emergent literacy, but also literally allows kids to create worlds where they can face fears, tackle challenges and be their own best selves.
Make believe strengthens those emotional muscles that allow children to stretch outside of their comfort zones. Being a hero on the playground in the context of a story lays the foundation for bouncing back when real life throws children fireballs of fear.
This page has resources that will help you harness all that vibrant energy of pretend, and intentionally nurture resilience as you address other parts of your curriculum as well. It’s important: so much so that the United Nations has put forward a proposal that the child’s right to play is fundamental to development.