Imagination is crucial to a child’s psychological development and plays an important role in their happiness during their childhood years. To encourage imaginative play, try providing these types of activities:
First, look at construction toys. K’Nex and Legos are great options. Blocks, Lincoln logs, and stacking toys are also great options. Construction toys encourage children to create, an essential part of their imagination. Most of these toys have tips and ideas on how to use them, and are great for showing kids what’s possible with their K’nex and Lego sets. Once they’ve mastered tracking ideas, encourage them to branch out and build their own creations, and let them imagine their own concepts and work them to completion.
Second, it encourages playing dress-up. Girls’ costumes are popular, and it’s not uncommon to see brands like Little Adventures in a chest with Snow White princess dresses. Cinderella princess dresses and other Disney princess costumes. With the popularity of girls’ costumes and Little Adventures princess dresses, children’s costumes are often neglected. While kids may not want to dress up as Princess Snow White or Princess Cinderella, they do enjoy dressing up as firemen, policemen, and cowboys. One of the most coveted toddler costume pieces is the superhero cape, much like the one Little Adventures makes. Kids love fighting bad guys and saving the world, and a few key dress-up items will help them use their imaginations as they play pretend.
Girls costumes are easier to choose as any type of Disney princess costume is generally appreciated. While it’s great for girls to imagine themselves as Princess Cinderella or Princess Snow White, costumes for girls also include pieces for ballerinas, chefs, and animals. Both boys and girls enjoy animal costumes, career-oriented costumes, and adult costumes. Parents’ old clothes, such as business shirts, ties, high heels, and necklaces, are prized costumes for children to play in, and it costs nothing to provide.
Third, art supplies. The right art supplies will lead to hours of activities that stimulate the imagination. Collect things like paper towel rolls, clean milk jugs, and leftover screws. Dried noodles, yarn, and fabric scraps are also great to have on hand with traditional markers, paper, and glue. If your child isn’t motivated by the art supplies he has, suggest things your child can do. Crayola’s website is a great resource for ideas, and most libraries have more than a few books on kids’ crafts. A simple suggestion, like making an aquarium out of a shoebox, will get a child’s imagination spinning as they plan how to hang fish, make seaweed noodles and add a touch of glitter. Even though kids have a hard time thinking of their craft ideas, once they get started on something, it’s amazing what they can imagine and create.
Finally, make free, unsupervised play a constant part of your life. When children have “unsupervised” or free play, they are free to think of their own activities and adventures. My two toddlers have been known to spend several hours playing with the shoelaces they pull out of their shoes, tying knots around toys and sticks and dragging them around. Many of the most enjoyable activities for children are those that they will think about for themselves and that they will have a harder time thinking about if they are constantly associated with adults. Give your children time to play with other children and let them create their own imaginative and pretend play.