6-1 | Pretend Play and Creative Processes


Pretend Play and Creative Processes

Sandra W. Russ and Claire E. Wallace


The authors contend that many cognitive abilities and affective processes important in creativity also occur in pretend play and that pretend play in childhood affects the development of creativity in adulthood. They discuss a variety of theories and observations that attempt to explain the importance of pretend play to creativity. They argue that rigorous research supports the association between the two but note that experimental studies are difficult to conduct for a number of reasons. A few promising, well-done studies, they conclude, suggest that engaging in pretend play fosters the development of creativity. And they call for further research—correlational, experimental, and longitudinal—to focus on specific processes in both play and creativity. They suggest that large-scale, multisite studies planned by researchers from different perspectives would be optimal. Key words: affect in creativity; creativity: divergent thinking; pretend play