As you know, pretend play is so important to early child development.
As Mister Rogers always told us:
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning, but for children, play is serious learning.”
But, I’m going to be honest: Some days Imaginary Play is not my strong suit.
I can’t be the only mom who feels this way, so I put together a list of some easy to play ideas and some of my favorite props to help foster imagination in our home.
A Cardboard Box
- Grab a paddle, make an oar, and you have a raft to sail away from the islands to return the heart of the sea to its rightful place
- Race Car Rally (Drive-In Movie Nights! Just add popcorn!)
- Life size jack in the box
- Add some markers and color a gingerbread house or a castle
- I think you mean…GODZILLA!!!
- No seriously, build a city out of blocks, and oh no!
- We’re under attack!
- Help us, Velociraptor! The mighty Stegosaurus is upon us!
- Reenact an old episode of Mister Rogers from your childhood
- Use a monkey puppet to search for bugs in your kid’s hair
- Lion puppet and go around singing “I AM KING OF THE FORRRRESSSTTT!”
- Tiger’s go hunting…right?
- Grocery Shopping (but you have to pretend to scan it and then ask for paper coupons)
- Cooking banana, mushroom, lettuce pancakes. (I made a pack away kitchen!)
- Iron Chef: Preschool Edition
- Fruit salad for a picnic lunch and then lay a blanket on the living room floor to eat
- Tea cakes and tea parties
- It’s Derby time and you’ve got a 1:10 bet on the brown mare Applesauce Sprinkle Cuddles
- Toothbrushes and soapy water for horse baths
- Pretend to take picture of wild horses
- Build corrals for them out of Legos and blocks
Hot Wheels Cars
- Small box as a garage for cars to come in and out of for repairs
- Make believe gas station
- It’s race day, yo, and them there Nascar hot wheels have the inside track
- Run them through brown paint for a monster truck rally (and then wash them with soap and water!)
- Police chase because Cops and Robbers is a timeless game
- Grab a metal cupcake tin and “bake”
- Throw in a construction truck or two and excavate a new road
- Do you wanna built a snowman?
Hopefully, on a day when you’re feeling burnt out or done with the day, you can look back at this list and find something to inspire you to play.