Symbolic Game: What it is, Benefits and How to do it at Home

Symbolic Game: What it is, Benefits and How to do it at Home

Symbolic Game: What it is, Benefits and How to do it at Home

Educational activities are not only fun for children, but they can also be incredibly beneficial. There is a wide variety of types of games, each with its advantages and benefits. If when playing with your child you also want to promote their cognitive development, social skills or work on their self-esteem, you should know that symbolic games are an excellent option. These types of games are not only easy, economical and versatile, but they also provide our children with many benefits. In the next post, we will be telling you everything about the symbolic game. We will start by explaining what it is and what its characteristics are, and then explain its specific benefits and give you some very simple examples of how to make them at home.

What is symbolic play?


Symbolic play, also known as pretend play or role play, is a fundamental activity in child development. In this type of play, children use their imagination to give new meaning to the objects around them. For example, a stick can become a sword, a cardboard box can be a house, or a doll can be a baby.

Importance of symbolic games

The importance of symbolic games lies in the numerous benefits they provide. These activities promote cognitive development by exercising memory, attention and enriching vocabulary. In addition, they improve communication skills, just to name a few examples. In short, symbolic games are an invaluable tool for child development, because they provide a platform for children's learning, creativity, and emotional intelligence in children and social growth.

Characteristics of symbolic games

Symbolic games are all those games that have the following characteristics:

  • Using imagination: Children must use their imagination to give new meaning to the objects around them. For example, a cloth on a chair is a tent or a notebook is a shield.
  • Representation: Children represent objects, actions or imaginary situations, either through words, gestures or actions.
  • Flexibility: Symbolic games do not have fixed rules and can change as the child plays, as they create their own scenarios and characters.
  • Creativity: Symbolic games allow children to express their creativity and invent new ideas.
  • Socialization: They often play with other children, which helps them develop their social skills.
  • Spontaneity: They are usually spontaneous and not planned in advance.

Benefits of symbolic play in children


Playing games of this nature provides children with benefits such as:

Cognitive development

Through symbolic play, children exercise their memory and attention by remembering roles, rules and scenarios, which contributes to improving their cognitive ability. Likewise, this game facilitates the acquisition of vocabulary by relating to different roles, situations and objects, thus enriching your language.

Improve communication

Communication is stimulated in symbolic play, since children need to interact with each other to coordinate and carry out the game, promoting fundamental social skills such as cooperation and negotiation. Additionally, by inventing stories and narratives, children develop their oral and/or written communication skills.

Promotes empathy

This type of recreational activities also promotes empathy, by allowing children to put themselves in the shoes of others and understand their emotions, which contributes to the formation of positive reinforcement social relationships and the development of emotional skills.

Conflict resolution

Conflict resolution is another skill that is strengthened in symbolic play, as children learn to resolve disputes that may arise during play, thus promoting the ability to negotiate and compromise.

Allows expression

In addition to all this, symbolic play offers a safe and healthy way for them to express their emotions and manage stress and anxiety effectively, thus contributing to their emotional well-being.

Promotes self-esteem and confidence

By engaging in pretend play and experiencing different roles and scenarios, children develop greater self-confidence and a sense of competence.

Encourage the learning of new behaviors During symbolic play, children assume the roles of adults, animals or imaginary characters. Through this representation, they learn and practice behaviors and skills.

Release tensions

Through play, children can express fears, anxieties, anger or sadness in an appropriate way and without fear of reprisals, releasing tension and relaxing.

When does the symbolic game start?

Symbolic play begins to develop around 2 years of age. However, it is important to remember that each child develops at their own pace, so there may be variations in the exact age at which they begin to play using symbolism.

In the early stages, the symbolic game will be very simple. For example, a child may pretend to eat an imaginary cookie or talk on the phone with an object that is not a real phone. As the child matures, symbolic play becomes more complex and elaborate.

Examples of symbolic children's play

The nature of these games makes the number of possibilities incredibly extensive, some examples are:

  • Role-playing: One of the most common examples of symbolic play is role-playing. Here, children can take on roles and represent different situations from everyday life. For example, they can play cooking in a toy kitchen or taking care of a baby with dolls or stuffed animals. They can also act out professional roles, such as doctors, teachers or firefighters, using themed toys and accessories.
  • Pretend Play: Pretend games are also popular examples of symbolic play. In these games, children simulate activities such as shopping in a toy store, sailing on a ship as pirates, or living in a castle as knights and princesses. These games allow them to explore different scenarios and imaginary worlds, stimulating their creativity and encouraging cooperative play.
  • Build: Another example of symbolic play is construction games. These are considered part of this category, since they allow you to build and create structures, objects and figures. For example, a child could build houses,, towers or animals with building blocks or create all kinds of things with Lego pieces. This type of play not only stimulates creativity and imagination, but also develops fine motor skills and increases tolerance for frustration in children.
  • Dress Up: Finally, dress up games are another exciting example of symbolic play. Here, children can dress up as different characters, such as animals, superheroes or fairy tale characters, using costumes and accessories. This type of play allows children to explore different identities, express themselves creatively, and develop social skills by interacting with others in pretend roles.

Tips for playing symbolic games with children at home


Encouraging symbolic play in children is an invaluable opportunity to stimulate their creativity, imagination and comprehensive development. Adults play a fundamental role in this process by providing a conducive environment and actively participating in play with children. Here are some simple tips to facilitate symbolic play at home:

  • Create an appropriate environment: Designate a safe space free of obstacles where children can play without restrictions. Organize play materials in a way that is accessible to children, allowing them to explore and select the items they want to use.
  • Limit devices: Minimize outside distractions, such as television or electronic devices, so children can fully focus on their imaginative play.
  • Offers a variety of materials: Provides a wide range of resources and materials that stimulate children's imagination, such as costumes, dolls, action figures, kiddus time teacher of tha brand Kiddus, construction toys, toy vehicles, kitchen utensils and boxes to create different scenarios.

  • Actively participates in the game: Shows genuine interest in the children's play and actively participates in it, following their example and encouraging their leadership in the development of the activities. Ask open-ended questions that invite children to use their imagination and creativity, thus promoting their ability to think abstractly and solve problems independently.
  • Accept: Recognize and praise children's efforts and achievements, celebrating their creativity, thus you will be helping to strengthen their self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Adapt the game to the child's age: Offer simple and easily understandable games for young children, while for older children you can propose more complex games with more elaborate roles and scenarios, adjusted to their level of cognitive development.
  • Incorporate the child's interests: Consult the child's interests and preferences and use them as a starting point for the development of symbolic games, integrating characters and scenarios related to their favorite themes.
  • Be flexible: Being open to the child's ideas and suggestions, allowing play to develop naturally and adapting to children's changing needs and interests at each stage of their development, is vital.
  • Prioritize fun: Ultimately, the main goal of symbolic play is for children to have fun and enjoy a positive and enriching experience. Promotes a relaxed and enjoyable play environment where children can explore, imagine and create freely, without excessive pressure or expectations.


In short, symbolic play is a necessary part of childhood maturational delay. It is a fun and beneficial way for children to learn and grow. By encouraging symbolic play in children, we are helping them develop the skills they need to be successful in life.

Author: Kiddus Team

At Kiddus we take pride in creating high-quality accessories for kids that are both functional and fashionable. Our team is composed of professionals in the children's industry, including designers, engineers, and child development experts. We work together to create innovative and safe products that meet the needs of both children and parents. With years of experience and a passion for quality, we strive to exceed expectations and bring joy to families around the world.

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