Enjoying Imaginative Play

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

Build Self-Confidence

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…

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car mat montage

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…

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toastermontageObviously, with fun like this being had, Boo has to get in on it, which I think is lovely for both of them…

toaster montage

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?

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16 thoughts on “Enjoying Imaginative Play”

  1. blank

    Imaginative play is so important, I did this a lot as a child and am sure this really help me achieve once I started school. I can’t wait for my little one to get to this stage to see what he gets up to!

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    I love the photos in your post they really convey the point you are trying to get across. judging by my 8 and 9 year olds you’re never too old for Happyland (as long as none of their friends see)!

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    I wrote something similar in my post today, imaginary play is fascinating to watch. Your two clearly have a wonderful time with all their toys.

    When we’re on the train my 23mo likes to recite all the animals she knows by saying she can see them out the window… I’ve heard a few stifled giggles from people sitting in nearby seats when she says there are two walruses roaming about in London 😉 #letkidsbekids

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    I love that little wooden toaster. My kids absolutely love imaginary play, probably the kitchen is the most played with toy. Yesterday my children pretended to be builders, they wore wooly hats did some hammering etc, then…..had a tea break!! I think they got it sooo right! It did make me smile.
    Sounds like your 2 enjoy their imaginary play too.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

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    I find it very interesting how much more interested in imaginary play the wee girl is compared to the boys at a similar age. It’s fascinating watching her develop. All children are different, but the differences between her and the boys are quite wide at times 🙂

    1. blank

      That is interesting, and something I’ll look out for with Little Man. Boo’s loved it from a young age and gets totally immersed in her own worlds now, so I’ll see whether Little Man is the same. He certainly loves a tea party!

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