I’m a big fan of imaginative play and role play. My children are the types of children who can turn anything into an exciting play opportunity (they seem to have inherited my overactive imagination – not always a good thing let me tell you). You see a cardboard box, they see an opportunity, is it a boat, spaceship or house?
You see a space down the side of the couch, they see a den. A space to hold that crucial tea party with Mr Ted and a doll or too. You see a pile of folded laundry, they see a mountain to climb, you get the drift
I love creating opportunities for this kind of play, always within ear shot because quite frankly there is nothing more heart warming than listening to children play happy families or role play with their toys.
Here are my top five tips for great role playing opportunities:
- Make a cardboard castle – all you need is a cardboard box and perhaps a crown or two!
- Make racing cars – for this you need a cardboard box with the lid and bottom removed, two long strips of paper and a bucket load of imagination. Suspend the box from your child’s shoulders to create a car for them to race. This provides a great fun activity that also gets them moving, make a track round your lounge or garden with some masking tape, scarves or similar for hours of fun!
- Create a mountain of clothes towels or duvets and get your children to climb it, or burrow into it to be cave explorers.
- Have a toy tea party. All you need is a blanket to sit on, some snacks and of course friends to join in the party, the best thing is that you can join in too and perhaps sneak a slice or two of cake!
- Perhaps my favourite ones is actually quite easy. All you need is a map, draw a map on a piece of paper and give the kids a box of clothes and art supplies to create the characters who live there. If you’ve drawn an island you can make pirate eye patches and telescopes. Drawn a jungle? Make snakes out of old socks! Drawn a forest? Create animal masks or dress up as fairies. Hours of fun!
Do you have any favourite activities for encouraging your children to use their imaginations?
Written by our regular contributor Annwen.
All views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Room To Grow.