Imaginative play is essential for children and their key to engaging and making sense of the world, because children learn best from experience: from what happens around them, what they see, hear, smell, taste and touch. To truly absorb these skills they need to act out various experiences they may have had or something that is of some interest to them, so they can experiment with decision making on how to behave and practice their social skills. Often adults under value imaginative play, and with Halloween almost here the holiday to truly imagine yourself as anything else and role play at all ages, we're here to help and give you some suggestions on how to encourage and inspire imaginative play in your home.
- Provide props. This doesn't mean you have to go out and buy a bunch of fake props, even though you could. But, often simple items in your home will act as the perfect props to spark imagination. Card board boxes can become anything. Your kitchen is filled with props that kids can re-invent into things. Provide a dress up box full of clothes, scarves, hats, purses, and shoes. Also, consider creating prop boxes filled with toys, objects and props to encourage your child’s fantasy world. This could include: Washing baskets, fake flowers, old phones, stuffed creatures, dolls, blankets and safe kitchenware. However, if you’re looking for toys, you’ve come to the right spot. Check out all of our amazing imagine i CAN items for ready-to-go imagination-packed sparking activities and props.
- Provide a place for your child to play – it could be a separate play room or just a corner of a room. Another idea is to allow play around the dinner table. Remove all the chairs and cover the table with sheets. It becomes and instant private home or even a castle where a princess lives. Couches are another great place to begin imaginative play. Again, a sheet thrown over the couch can become a tunnel or cave that an explorer needs to investigate.
- Do things with your child! Reading will expose children to difference scenarios, stories and experiences. Taking your children to the park or zoo another way for them to explore new experiences. Also, this will happen naturally by just taking them with you to the supermarket and or doctor’s office. The more experiences they can have, the more ideas their amazing minds will come up with.
- Play with them! Kids love when their parent plays with them. So, the next time your child brings you a pretend cup of tea or wants to play grocery store, jump in! Show an interest in what they are doing as this helps to develop the story and encourage the imagination – while letting your child be in charge. Also, arrange play dates with children of similar ages so they can support each other’s imaginative play.