If there’s something that kids have a lot of it’s imagination. That’s why imaginative play is such a big part of what they do. To parents, it may seem like their children are living in a fantasy world, but the interactions and scenarios are actually rooted in reality, and they serve as exercises to deal with many social interactions. This is why imaginative play needs to be encouraged. Support your children’s fantasies and allow them to navigate the scenarios they want. If you don’t know how to get started, here are a few ideas that will help you encourage your kids’ imaginative play.
1. Dressing Up:
Dressing up might the simplest way to encourage imaginative play. If you have toddlers at home, then you may have already noticed how much they like imitating siblings, grown-ups, and their favorite characters on TV. Take advantage of this by using the wardrobe you have available and accessories such as bags, sunglasses, watches, old phones, purses, hats, and more so you can encourage your children to play pretend. You can later incorporate items such as costumes, wigs, masks, capes, and more so they can dress up as their favorite characters and create scenes in their minds. Make sure you put up a mirror so your children can see themselves once they’re dressed up. This will help them build a sense of self from early on and develop their own personality and independence.
2. Riding a Cardboard Box or a Washing Basket:
A cardboard box or a washing basket can be whatever means of transportation your children imagine it to be. We’ve all seen Inside Out, so you definitely know what I mean. It can be a plane, a car, a boat, a magic rocket, or all the above at some point. To encourage imaginative play, get your child a cardboard box or a washing basket, they can always turn to when they want to go for a ride. You can also take it a step further and decorate the box or basket to look like their means of transportation, and encourage them to sing a song, such as Row Your Boat, The Wheels on the Bus, etc., or make up your own song together!
We all love a good picnic, so it’s a good idea to encourage your children to set up their own picnic at home and play pretend. All you need is a blanket, cups, bowls, and plates they can’t break, pretend food and drinks, and then allow your children to use their imagination. They can do this indoors or outdoors!
4. Mailman Play:
All you need to set this up are colored envelopes, sheets of white paper, markers and colored pencils, and tape. Just tape the colored enveloped onto walls and identify them for each family member. Then, hand your children the paper, markers, and colors so they can write letters or make drawings for everyone. Once they’re ready, they will be able to deliver them to every single “mailbox.”