I love watching my children play. Whether it be drawing, crafting, building, making music, I enjoy every second (well, the music one can become a little much after a while…!). But if I had to choose a favourite activity to observe, it would be imaginative play.
For starters, I know that it’s hugely beneficial for their development. I was reading an article about encouraging your child’s imagination, over on Readers Digest, where they listed 5 key areas that it benefits:
Develop Social Skills
Boost Intellectual Growth
Practice Language Skills
Work Out Fears
And, of course, it’s a lot of fun.
I am fascinated by the worlds that they create around themselves. At 4, Boo’s very good at playing on her own, and it’s so lovely to hear her talking away to her dolls/cars/soft toys/Happyland people. She weaves magical tales around such simple and humble objects. I still remember her earliest forays into pretend-play, her favourites back then were probably ‘chores’ and playing with her Happyland toys. She loved ironing, sweeping, making dinner and chatting all about how she was doing it throughout! And listening to her little people going off for a walk in the forest, and discovering different animals (often a fox, a snake, and an owl – you see where she might have been inspired?!), oh, I loved it. And of course, she spends hours like it now, but her language is far more advanced and eloquent, the plot-lines more elaborate. Any toy now gets pulled into imaginary play and Little Man’s new train set enthrals her. I do think traditional toys are great for this type of exploratory play, as though we’ve plenty of electronic toys and gadgets, which they do enjoy and they absolutely have their place here, it’s the more traditional things – dolls, trains, cars, tea-sets, that allow them to make up their own stories and mimic life.
Lately, this brilliant car mat has had a lot of playtime…
Those cars have had quite the busy time, don’t you know? They have been driven all over town, and were even attacked by a giant Slinky dog at one point!
Little Man is just starting to venture in to pretend play, too. It’s early days still for him, but one of his very favourite activities is playing with their play kitchen, holding tea parties with his new tea-set (he makes very cute sipping noises!), and preparing breakfast for us all with this very lovely wooden toaster set…
This is such an important developmental stage for them, and it’s good to see them playing like this both alone and together. I treasure these times.
The toys used in these photos were kindly sent to us by Big Game Hunters.
What about your children? Do they enjoy their imaginary worlds?