7 FREE Things to Help Build Your Child’s Imagination
Kids don’t need much to inspire their imagination, giving them an opportunity and sometimes a few props can gain you hours of entertainment watching them play.
- Blanket Dens and Forts.
Throw a blanket or sheet over a table, coffee table or build a pillow fort with the couch cushions. These set the scene for storming a castle, hiding in a boat, a tea party under the world, embarking on an adventure to the moon, making trails to avoid the boiling lava and many other make-believe games.
- A Cardboard Box
What can’t be done with a cardboard box? Trains, houses, rocket ships, castles, the list goes on. Add a toy to go on adventure as well or some crayons or pens and the box has a whole new angle. Flower gardens on the outside, colouring in the castle walls, draw the rocket ship windows, or even cut them out!
Naturally the bigger the box the more the kids love it, but even the smallest ones can fit a teddy bear or favourite toy and provide hours of entertainment.
- Water (supervised play)
Let them up at the sink to pretend to wash the dishes with their own plates and cups. Wash baby in the sink with a small sponge, add some washing up liquid or baby wash for a bubble bath baby/dolly won’t forget. Even just let them have an extra-long bath with cups and boats to see where they sail off to.
Kids love stories, especially ones you made up. Build on stories they already read or start from scratch. They don’t have to be long, they could even be based on what you did that day or yesterday and include your child as the main character, they will LOVE being in the story, and it helps them expand their sense of self. Encourage them to tell part of it then see if they can make up some on their own, you will be amazed at their inventiveness.
Walk in the park, woods or fields. Collect natural things of interest as you go and talk about what you’ve found and what it’s used for. Listen to the noises as you go along and see if you can work out what they are. Build a den (if allowed to in that area) with fallen tree branches or build a make-believe fire to sit around and talk and pretend you are camping.
Make some art or a story out of the items you collected when you get home.
- Art with unusual objects
What can you use to paint with around the house, cut a potato in half or an onion, see the unusual patterns that they make on the page. What happens if you put a ball in the paint and roll it over the page. What does pasta do? What else can they find to paint with? They will love the idea of hunting for things they can use and they are learning about materials.
- Let’s Pretend to be….
The options are limitless…a doctor, a spaceman, an animal…Dinosaurs and dragons are always popular as are cats, kittens, puppies and dogs! You can expand on the kid’s usual play with noises by building a dinosaur swamp with cushions or blankets, and they of course should dodge the tar pits!
For kittens and cats, maybe the kitten is hungry and needs his mummy to provide food, dogs always need walking and there is a park with doggy obstacles to jump and roll over again cushions and blankets are multipurpose.
This always proves popular with kids and really gets them thinking about what they could be and how that person/animal/vegetable would behave.