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My oldest son is on the Autism Spectrum, so his younger years were spent teaching our literal child how to play pretend and be imaginative. He didn’t play pretend very often but I knew just how important it was for us to teach him to be able to open up his world to the infinite possibilities that his imagination could bring.  Imaginative and pretend play are so important for a child’s development- just as important as learning the academics because it teaches skills they will need as they grow.

My second and third sons are 4 and 5 and both crave pretend play, such a new world for me! Our home is littered with dress up and imaginative toys and they’ve even been able to include their big brother into their adventures. Their latest adventures, like most boys their ages, seem to revolve around trains. Thomas the Tank Engine™ to be more precise.

The boys love the Thomas & Friends™ TV show and I do too! It’s all about trains that can talk and have human emotions-the perfect continuation of our everyday pretend play. We incorporate our Thomas & Friends™ Wood Track & Engines and the boys act out all kinds of crazy scenarios and dilemmas that their favorite engine friends have to solve.

I love that I can sit back and let their imaginations run wild as they dive deep into the world of Sodor, allowing them to grow their social skills and work on problem solving all under the guise of play! With the Thomas Wood tracks and trains, they are able to build and connect the real wood tracks by themselves, easily, to set up different scenes without my help, and with so many of their favorite Thomas & Friends™ characters available, the possibilities are endless.

When I see my sons put on their conductor’s hat and head upstairs to the playroom, I know they’ll be busy for a while!

Why is fostering your child’s imagination so important? It’s not just about play. It’s about how much they’re learning while they play.

They are learning new language and communication skills as they talk like the character they become and use words they normally wouldn’t. They are working on their social and emotional skills as they become someone else and think about someone else’s feelings and seeing the world through a different point of view. They are problem solving by needing to become creative (using a stick as a magic wand) or work out who will get to be which character.

These skills learned in imaginative play are crucial for their skill building to become adults. My boys aren’t just pushing Thomas & Friends™ trains on their tracks, they are working together to learn and grow without even knowing it.

We absolutely love our Thomas & Friends™ Wood Tracks and Engines. The Thomas & Friends™ Wood line are made out of real beech wood with impeccable quality to last through all of your children’s imaginative adventures. They can be found on Target’s toy aisles now.