Let them play...it's science!

Remember the days of turning a large cardboard box into a car, or running around the park pretending you were a superhero with your friends? Well turns out that wasn't just pretend play...it was science! We often take this place for granted, when in reality children are learning through pretend play.

In a recent article in Smithsonian Magazine they highlight a new study by the University of California Berkeley that looks into play and how young children can learn so much, so quickly. It turns out that pretend play is what philosophers call "conterfactual" thinking. Children who are better at pretending can reason better about counterfactuals and are better at thinking about different possibilities. As the author in Smithsonian says, "The idea is that children at play are like pint-sized scientists testing theories. They imagine ways the world could work and predict the pattern of data that would follow if their theories were true, and then compare that pattern with the pattern they actually see. Even toddlers turn out to be smarter than we would have thought if we ask them the right questions in the right way."

So the next time you hear a little one claim to be chasing monsters, or ruling a kingdom from a castle, sit back and marvel, as this is the crucial part of what makes all humans so smart!


Jody Vaynshtok

Jody is a California-licensed speech language pathologist with eight years of industry and clinical experience. She has worked with both adult and pediatric populations during her time at private practice, birth-to-three, and hospital facilities. She is experienced in the assessment and treatment of a variety of communication and cognitive disorders. In addition, Jody has a passion for working with adults looking to achieve clearer communication. Jody received her BS in Speech and Hearing Sciences and MS in Medical Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Washington. She was a part of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford’s cleft and craniofacial clinic participating in the multidisciplinary assessment and treatment of children born with craniofacial abnormalities. She holds a staff position at UCSF and is the lead speech language pathologist for the department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s Hearing Loss Clinic. When she's not busy having fun with her clients Jody enjoys spending time with her husband, Anton, friends and family. And if she's not headed out somewhere fun for dinner, you might find her at Bar Method working out!