Encouraging your child’s imagination during creative play is a wonderful boost to his/her developmental growth in several important skill sets:
- social & emotional, such as cooperation, empathy & problem solving, all of which builds confidence & self-esteem
- language, such as expression & vocabulary, both of which support pre-reading behaviors
- thinking, such as problem solving, cause & effect, sequential reasoning , attention to details & sustained focus, all of which promote cognitive growth & development
- imagination through exploration & discovery brings recognition to the value & importance of creativity
As a parent & educator, observing children immersed in pretend, or dramatic play, is absolutely FASCINATING, as well as entertaining. The insights I gained into their behaviors, emotions, perceptions, interpretations, and interests were an unbelievable treasure trove of information. Their expressions, questions and actions give you a window into their anxieties, humor and ambitions.
You don’t need to invest a lot of money into the tools & materials necessary for Pretend Play. Children happily transform what is around them into what they need to promote their make-believe environment. A pile of leaves, twigs & pebbles can be a stew to eat, a buried treasure, or a new home for a small friend. Branches become wands for magic, pencils for map drawings and poles for fishing. Blankets, sheets, pillows & towels build houses, tents, castles & fortresses. Trees provide shelters, spaceships, lookouts & hideaways.
However, sometimes, fresh ideas and tips can invite more creativity and discovery in different scenarios. Here are a few websites I found to help promote your child’s fanciful flights into the boundless world of her/his imagination.
8 Helpful Websites for Your Child’s World of Make~Believe
- “Encouraging Children to Play Imaginatively and Creatively” is a parent-friendly, informative article written by Kathy Eugster, a certified Play therapist for her website: kathyeugstar.com. She gives the reader support for promoting pretend play and a long list of ideas, using simple, everyday materials parents already have on hand.
- “40 Dramatic Play Ideas” @ kidsplaybox.com includes the literacy take-aways from pretend play. Click on the four content-specific categories, such as Reading & Writing for ideas & activities.
- “Imaginative Play Ideas for Kids” @ craftykidsathome.com/a-z-of-pretendplay/ is jam-packed with a variety of categories. It lists & links 85+ Pretend Play Activities, such as: animal play, cardboard box play, doctors & vets play, dressing up, outdoor play & more.
- kaboom.org/creativeexpression hosts lots of links for ideas & materials to use during pretend play. Click on Pretend Play in the sidebar and Costumes & Playhouses in the drop-down for numerous how-to links, especially at the site: familyfun.go.com.
- “List of Imaginative Play Ideas” @ learning4kids.com offers quite a few activities. Click on the “Read more” link for step-by-step, how-to instructions & a materials list in 13 activities. Then, be sure to click on the Most Recent Pretend Play Activities link for a lot more ideas & how-to instructions.
- “75 Fun Pretend Play Ideas” collected by the Kids Activities Staff @ themaven.net/kidsactiviites, not only lists 75 (I counted them) ideas for imaginative play, but also, provides links for creating the coordinating playscape. Just click on the idea title link for how-to instructions. AMAZING!
- “25 Easy Pretend Play Ideas” @ notimeforflashcards.com provides clickable list links for how-to create the scenario directions sequentially with pictures and materials list.
- “24 Practical Pretend Play Ideas” @ handsonaswegrow.com offers clickable links to other websites for information, directions & material lists. Begin by clicking on Pretend Play Resources.
Know of any other Pretend Play places, sites, books, etc that would be helpful to parents, educators and/or caregivers?
Have some experiences, stories, or activities you’d like to share?
Any tips, strategies and/or suggestions that have worked for you & yours ?
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