How to Create an Environment that Fosters Imaginative Play

Kids are dynamos of imagination. In their eyes, an extended stint in the cushioned confines of the back seat might become an adventure in a jungle, palace or space station. When combined with props and other kids, the power of make-believe is a force to be reckoned with. Here’s how to create an environment that makes the most of imaginative play!

Create a New Context

There are many ways that pretend play can positively influence child development. One of the most important is its ability to give children ground to work out unknowns about the world. So while it’s valuable to provide, for example, a pretend kitchen for kids to play in, it’s also valuable to invoke an unfamiliar environment.

Try adding details from multiple themes, like the Wild West and the great frontier of space! When it comes to creating imaginative spaces, ECR4Kids offers a range of items to foster dramatic play.

Take it Outside

Pretending and the Great Outdoors go hand in hand. While you have less control over the environmental details, kids will have no trouble creating fantastic situations out of thin air. Outdoor play structures are great for creating imaginative bastions in the sandbox or backyard. Take a peek at our line of outdoor play items for some inspiration!

Take Advantage of Story Time

The body is only a vessel for imaginative play—the real work goes on upstairs. There’s no better way to stimulate imagination than through story time! Introducing your kids or students to fantastic settings and situations is a surefire way to get their creative juices flowing. Before playtime, set aside a few minutes to read a story aloud. Chances are you’ll notice some shared themes between the story and the play!

Don’t Ignore the Floor or Ceiling

While kids are certainly capable of imagination without visual cues, creating a stimulating environment is sure to catapult them to new levels of make-believe. For the ceiling, make use of student arts and crafts. We like using the ceiling for seasonality: icicles in winter, blooming garlands for spring, etc. For the floor, we turn to educational rugs to create spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and educational!

Create Texture, Not Clutter

There’s stimulation, and then there’s overstimulation. While we certainly encourage creating a vibrant and fun-filled environment for the kids in your life, try to be deliberate in doing so! Add thoughtful touches of detail with toys, posters and props. Avoid piles of props, and instead strive to create a series of intentional spaces. As we like to say: texture, not clutter!

Those are our thoughts on fostering imaginative play through the environment! Teachers and parents, how do you encourage your kids to let their imagination shine? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below!