Kids Pretend Play
Kids who watch a lot of tv usually
imitiate things they've seen on television in their play, however, kids
who don't watch much tv spend more time in pretend play.
Exercising their own imaginations is crucial for their
emotional and mental development. Sometimes as parents,
though, we need to get their creative juices flowing. Here
are some great ideas for pretend play.
Children explore the world around them
and learn through pretend play. With so many passive activities
like watching TV and playing video games, we sometimes need to
encourage our children to pretend play. Here are a few
suggestions on how to get those creative juices flowing for
both you and your child.
Dress Up Box
Put a dress up box together with some of your old dresses,
jackets, blouses, old Halloween costumes, etc. Don’t forget to
throw in some fun accessories as well, such as purses, hats,
wigs, scarves, gloves. etc.
If you can’t find much around the house, look around at some
yard sales and the Goodwill and Salvation Army stores. You’ll
be able to find some great dress up clothes for your kids for
next to nothing.
You may also get requests for some unusual accessories like
space helmets, crowns, etc. Be creative and look around the
house. A colander makes a cool helmet and you can form a
sparkling crown out of aluminum foil.
All you’ll need is any of the stuffed animals your kids already
have plus some bandages. You can substitute an empty pen to
serve as a thermometer or syringe. A pair of headphones can
quickly be turned into a stethoscope by taping a plastic bottle
cap to the jack.
You can quickly put a grocery store together on a low shelf or
side table. All you’ll need is a basket and several empty
cereal and rice boxes. Add a few canned goods and some dry
beans, and you're all set. You can also draw up your own money
on pieces of paper and cut some coins out of cardboard. Ask
your child to help you color them. Take turns with your child
being the shopper or the storekeeper.
When your child gets bored of playing store, turn the grocery
store into a library. Make up a library card for every family
member and add a small piece of paper into each of your child’s
books. If your child cannot read or write yet, draw a symbol
for each family member, or use a different color. When someone
checks out a book from the family library, ask the child to
record who took it and when it is due back in. You can also ask
your child to sort the books either by topic or
Have your kids turn an empty cardboard box into a fire truck.
They can color it and draw tires on with markers or cut out
shapes from construction paper. Paint an empty clean can (like
a coffee can) blue to use as an emergency light. You can have
them make a police car, ambulance or garbage truck. You’ll soon
have your children pretend play to be a fire fighter, police
All you’ll need are a few pots and pans, some wooden spoons,
and if you’d like, some dry rice or beans. Your kids can also
draw shapes of favorite foods on construction paper and color
them with crayons or markers. After that, let the pretending
begin. Encourage your child to pretend cook in the kitchen with
you while you are fixing dinner. It will keep him or her
occupied, while you can still keep an eye on him or her.
One of the most versatile pretend play toys are puppets. You
can easily make them yourself. Take a look at these finger
puppets and handkerchief puppets . There is also a huge
array of puppets from people to animals commercially available.
Puppets will allow your child to recreate situations of
everyday life and to explore different points of view. Watching
them when they play with their puppets will give also give you
a glimpse at how they see the world. Do you really say, “Please
don’t do that” that often?
Give your child the means and a little bit of encouragement to
pretend play and they’ll run with it. Our children are so
observatory of their surroundings and also have tons of
imagination. You’ll enjoy watching them and interacting with
them as they explore their world through pretend play.
Susanne Myers is the owner of
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