I’ve gone on a summer sorting spree! The kid’s closet is being organized, donations hauled away, and the costume station is updated. Now that the kids have a little more time on their hands, I want to encourage some make believe play. What better way to do it than to put an edited selection of toys at their fingertips?
One of the most enjoyable and beneficial activities of childhood is pretend play! When children create an imaginary world they are growing their brains and practicing for social interactions. Activities like dress up, play kitchens, and puppet shows let children to express new ideas and work through possible scenarios.
It is not surprising to find dramatic play centers in many schools, children’s bedrooms, and daycare’s. They provide the perfect opportunity for kids to explore their world through the eyes of others. Researchers have identified creative play as vital for developing children. Make believe allows kids to work on language, problem solving, and social emotional skills.
A quick look around the house will probably turn up trove of items to repurpose for imaginative play. Elevate the experience with a variety of props. Use costumes, old cell phones, kitchen utensils, spare ring of keys, top hats, glasses, purses, music makers etc.
Learning to collaborate with others takes time and practice. Set aside some space for kids to take turns, self regulate, and learn empathy. Dramatic play can be an unstructured time with out rules or a plan. Sit back and be inspired by a child’s inventive nature. You will be amazed by what they dream up!
Stephanie Standley M. Ed. is a mom, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. She received her undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Psychology as well as a Master of Education-Literacy from the University of San Diego. Stephanie has 12+ years of classroom experience as a teacher and currently supports students in Special Education. She is inspired to use evidence-based practices to educate children in creative and engaging ways.