The world of make believe is a magical place for children to learn, create and express!
Imaginative play begins in early toddlerhood and continues, for some us (ME!), on into adulthood.
Pretend play is not only fantastically fun, it is critical for healthy childhood development. It allows children to try out different roles in life and to practice their ever-developing verbal and problem solving skills.
Children reenact life to learn about life!!
One of my favorite roles as a parent is to encourage my kids to enjoy a creative world of imagination. It is such a thrill to see them learn while they are having fun. Sometimes we forget that learning can be and should be fun! When kids create colorful real life scenarios they are not only mimicking adults, but they get to be in control; momentary masters of their own destiny!!! As parents and educators I believe it’s critical that we support and promote play as much as possible. Sadly, most kids aren’t getting this in traditional schools.
I say toss the worksheets and bring out pizza!
We are all inspired by what makes our heart sing and kids are no exception. The greatest kind of learning comes packaged as fun.
Facilitating imaginative play can be as simple as setting out some recycled cereal boxes for grocery store or as detailed as providing material for a grocery sign, price tags, shopping cart and sales receipts. I happen to enjoy the little details in setting up scenarios, but the true benefits come when the child is in control. I let my kids take the lead. If they seem interested in something, I help them with the set up and then let their imaginations soar!
Last week our family made fake pizza for Family Fun Night. I loved this activity because the ENTIRE family was involved. Krischan (13) even got into the idea and made a custom pizza box and topped off his pizza with detailed multi-level paining!! Now Mason and Emerson have a huge assortment of pizzas for their very own Italian-style eatery.
I confess, I have as much fun as the kiddos.
Our favorite top ten imaginative play scenarios:
- Post Office
- Carnival (game booths, prizes…)
- Workshop (tools, screw drivers, hammers for older kids)
- Restaurant/Snack Shack
- Beauty Shop
So have yourself a slice of munchie-crunchie-cardboard style pizzia and start playing will ya!???