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Happy Halloween: The Nature of Pretend

As Halloween quickly approaches, it might be a great time to explore the nature of pretend play. Fantasy play is one of the three developmental tasks (e.g., elaboration of locomotion, language development, fantasy play, and self-control) essential for building a sense of autonomy beginning in toddlerhood (ages 2 to 4). Theoretical views about how fantasy play contributes to development include (a) children use fantasy play to experiment with environments and expand thinking, (b) Jean Piaget (Swiss psychologist emphasized children’s education) emphasized the assimilative value of play, (c) Lev Vygotsky (Soviet psychologist specialized child development) viewed fantasy play as a zone of proximal development (distance between what a learner can do without help), and Erik Erickson (German-American psychologist known for theory on psychological development) considered fantasy play vital to promoting personality and social development (Newman & Newman, 2018). So as we digest all this unnecessary information above, the goal is to create a context for how vital fantasy play is in adulthood. As an adult, do you believe in fantasy play, make-believe, and dressing up for Halloween? Do you think it is important for your mental health to be able to tap into your childhood once and while? In a world full of negative stressors, hopelessness, and grief, I think Halloween creates that lane for us to destress, enjoy being a “kid” again, sometimes through our children, and celebrate our favorite childhood characters or themes through fantasy play. What are your thoughts?


Newman. B. M., & Newman. P. R. (2018). Development through life: A psychosocial approach

(13th ed.). CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

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