Once we grow up it’s easy to forget how much fun it was to use our imagination in play. When we were little play was our full time job (ohhhhh to go back to those days lol!).
There are so many names for creative play: imaginative play, symbolic play, pretend play. Really it’s just good old make-believe, and it’s the best kind of fun. Kids get to learn all sorts of skills - communication, social skills, independence, courage and curiosity.
Developing a love of creative thinking and encouraging their imagination to soar will set your child up as a creative thinker in all walks of life.
By the age of around 3 your child’s imaginative play is in full creative swing. This time is all about tea parties, fairy castles, construction sites, and dinosaur stampedes. As they get older their imagined scenarios get really detailed, with voices, characters and fun to the max. I just love sneaking up on Miss 7 playing with a friend and listening to them planning a show for their toys deciding what character they’re going to be, and making up songs and dances for the show. If I’m lucky I’ll get to be in the audience!
Here are a couple of ideas on ways to encourage creative play for your little ones:
Embrace the mess… You won’t find an artist’s studio completely spotless, sterile and tidy. Creativity can be messy! It’s cool if you want to allocate the kids a specific space and have a couple of basic rules - keep live easy for you too! But then loosen the reins and let them get stuck into serious play. Let them build the fort in the lounge - it’s no biggie to pop the couch back afterwards.
Discover the outdoors. Nature encourages your children’s imagination like nothing else. We’re so lucky in NZ to have a bit of nature close by no matter where we live. Collect branches, shells, different leaves. Collect some pebbles in different sizes and throw them into puddles to see the different splashes they make. Collect as many different types of leaves and press them into play dough to see the beautiful patterns they make.
It’s easy for life to get in the way of just sitting down and having a heart to heart chat on a banana phone with your little one, but if you can, make a few minutes. By the time you get back to making dinner, following up on emails and general adulting you’ll have a smile on your face, I promise!
SPACEY has a delicious range of felt play food made right here in NZ - if your child is into tea parties, play picnics or becoming a chef check it out here: https://spaceyliving.co.nz/collections/felt-food-1