7 Ways to Encourage Imaginative Play
What is Imaginative Play?
Imaginative play in a nutshell is when children imagine that they are something they are not or acting out various experiences. Kids love to play and imaginative play is the best form of play according to many early childhood experts.
To quote Vivian Paley a leading expert in the area and a Macarthur Fellowship recipient,
‘There is no activity for which young children are better prepared than fantasy play. Nothing is more dependable and risk-free, and the dangers are only pretend.’
How to Foster Imaginative Play?
1.Provide your child a space in your home for imaginative play
It can be a separate room or a corner of a room. For those of us living in smaller homes, space is a luxury and children’s play corner is often the living room or the kids’ existing bedroom. To help make this imaginative play space better, our easy to set up and beautiful, dare we say so ourselves, Teepeedees teepee would be the perfect addition. It comes in different designs and sizes to help you find the perfect one to suit your home décor.
The simplest things found in the house will as the perfect props to spark imagination. Things like safe kitchen utensils, unbreakable mixing bowls, calculators, old caps, old phones, old costume jewelry, and old Halloween costumes can bring countless hours of play.
3. Give freedom & autonomy
Allow kids the freedom and autonomy to explore their ideas safely and do what they want when they’re playing. In short, don’t be bossy or be worried about the mess as long as they’re not hurting themselves or others. Think about the hours of quiet you will be getting!
In order to make imaginative play possible, we need to make time and schedule it just like scheduling their afterschool activities, except it’s cost nothing. This will involve eliminating afterschool activities.
5. Seriously limit screen time
There have been studies about the frightening effects of too much screen time for children like childhood obesity, less energy, harder to focus, and the list goes on. From personal experience, I simply hate that look when my kids look like zombies after being on screens for a long time. Helping make their imaginative play more attractive and interesting will certainly help more easily cut out screen time.
When the weather permits, just take them out. Allow them to get dirty in the playground, rake leaves, tend to the garden, grow plants are all good options to help them get out.
7. Engage at their level and be their playmate
While unsupervised play has its pluses (ahem, peace & quiet), there’s also a lot to be gained when we play with our children. It helps strengthen bonds and helps us understand their world and point of view.