There’s a great Picnic Table Talk this week about Your Child’s Imagination over at ABC’s and 123’s Learning Cooperative.
Aside from all the “educational” type activities we do over here, promoting my children’s imaginations has been very important to me. I wrote a post last year discussing Make Believe Play to Help Self-Regulation with links to wonderful articles you should check out. It really does build some critical skills.
I wrote a post about Props for Pretend Play for ideas on playing restaurant, library, store and post office with some free printables.
I’ve made a lot of their toys and focused on trying to make more open-ended, natural and imaginative toys and if I purchased toys, it was with the intention of fostering imagination.
For instance, I made playmats out of felt and fabric to go with their playmobil pirates and fairies and made gnomes and a gnome home and painted wooden trees and animals I bought at a craft fair. Now their dolls can act out a lot of different scenarios based on what playmat they are playing on.
I improvised a play kitchen out of wooden furniture after going through two very cheap toy kitchens.
I also kept my eyes out for interesting fabrics at the fabric store and saved my accessories from weddings I’ve been in for dress up. My children spent 3 days after watching Harry Potter dressing up as HP characters and running around casting spells with brown wooden chopsticks as wands. My oldest went so far as to draw a scar out of paper and tape it to her forehead:
Shimmery fabric with moons and stars they used as an invisibility cloak:
A green satin wrap used as McGonagal’s green cloak and chopstick wand.
My middle daughter told the story of Little Red Riding Hood using things collected from Nature.
We also get a lot of use out of our backyard wooden swingset. Often the kids pretend the tower is a ship (it has a steering wheel) or they’d be climbing up a huge mountain on the rock wall. Sometimes they’d get out the garden hose and play fireman.
And when the kids were younger, they used a empty sand box as a space ship and my oldest daughter and I would act out stories from the Backyardigans in the backyard.
Yes, indeed…we love using our imaginations over here.