What is Imaginative Play?

Imagination adds sparkle to life. It leads to new ideas and problem-solving. Imagining is making mental pictures. We all have imagination, but this power has to be developed. One of the ways that children do this is through pretend play.

Imaginative play is pretend play when children act out their own experiences or role-play something that interests them.

Children learn from what happens around them and from their senses. Imaginative play is the way they make sense of the world around them. Children who are deprived of sensory experiences have difficulty forming new ideas.

Apart from nurturing the imagination, pretend play in children builds skills in many other areas such as social and emotional skills, language skills, and thinking skills.


1. Here are some ideas to get you started to support imaginative play with your child:

Cardboard box
Set up a big cardboard box up in an open area in your house and let your child decide what he wants it to be. Provide heavy-duty markers for decoration, and other materials if needed. Your role here is to be more of a guide by providing some ideas if necessary.

Gather a box of assorted household objects and have your child create a puppet show using them as the “puppets.”

Wacky photos
Let your child cut up old photos.Get out some glue, construction paper, and markers and have her turn the stray faces and body parts into new people or create a fantasy picture.

Nature story
Take a paper bag and go on a walk with your child. Try to collect at least 10 nature objects. Have your child make a story from the objects.

Junk-drawer game
Have your child go through a junk drawer and pick out a dozen of the oddest objects he can find. Get a big sheet of cardboard, some markers and some dice. Have your child invent a game using all the found pieces. Then sit down and play together.

Reinventing the solar system
Give your child the opportunity to rename the planets. What would she name the planets if she had the chance? And why?

Hidden stories
Have your child spend fifteen minutes hunting around the house for three objects he hasn’t noticed or paid attention to before. Your job is to tell him a story about all three objects.

For doable tips on how to encourage imaginative play with your child in more detail visit: www.parenting.com

In the search field enter: article/10 Easy Ways to Fire Your Child’s Imagination

2.Kathy Eugster is a certified play therapist with day-to-day experience bringing up her own children. To create a supportive home space and to set a good basis, she suggests:

(a) Set limits around screen time,

(b) Don’t over-schedule your child with extra-curricular activities, and

(c) Be available yourself for play and supervision.

For helpful hints on parenting, visit Kathy Eugster’s website at kathyeugster.com

Imaginative play is fun, life affirming and creates family bonds. Just for that alone it is worth taking some time to check into it.

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