Imaginative play is one of the best ways for children to learn. It allows them to use their imagination and practice real-life situations in a safe setting. Here are five ways to foster imaginative play. They are simple, easy, and most importantly, child-focused.
Let Children Lead
It’s no secret that children are more imaginative than adults. Because of this, it’s important to let children be the leaders in imaginative play. Let them come up with the premise. If they’re not sure how to start, offer prompts rather than suggestions. Open-ended questions are best. “What kind of job do you want to pretend to have?” offers an endless amount of choices. “Do you want to be a teacher or a police officer?” only offers two choices. Children have a lot of thoughts in their minds, and imaginative play allows them to explore their world.
Use What You Have
You do not need the latest toys or technology for imaginative play. This is the best part. Look around for common household items to act as props. Tupperware, carboard boxes and the contents of a junk drawer are hidden gems for imaginative play. If something more specific is wanted by a child, see if you can make it instead of buying it. Using what you have enables children to be even more creative. It also teaches resourcefulness and innovation.
Imaginative play often comes up spontaneously. Children don’t often understand timeframes, and they can spend a matter of minutes or alternately a few hours on one task. The point is that in their mind their activity transition makes sense, so as an adult, try to keep up with them. If a child wants to play something different, go with it instead of trying to bring them back to the current task. It’s also important that imaginative play can change within itself. Playing school can quickly morph into playing superheroes, or better yet, a combination of the two. When you allow children to make their own rules, you allow their imagination to grow.
Take it Outside
Sometimes imaginative play can start to wane inside. This is normal as walls and furniture boundaries are hard to overcome. If imaginative play begins to stall, take it outside. The backyard, a local park, or a public pathway are new environments to discover. The great thing about nature is that every day is different. New sticks can be found. New birds can be seen. New puddles can be jumped in.
Take it Inside
Sometimes playing at home can be a bit repetitive. And outside is cold and wet. When this happens, imaginative play can be fostered at an indoor play centre. Kids Fun City offers a giant indoor playground where children can meet new friends and create a new world. You can play games with your child and watch them be active and have fun.