Pretend Play for Kids

Let Your Imagination Go

Imaginative games and
pretend play form a large part of a young child’s world. At a time where
they cannot always find the words to express themselves they use play
as a form of expression.

Playing out everyday experiences and dressing
up are ways for your child to pretend they are an adult, doing ‘adult
things’, like going to work, changing the baby and driving the car.
Often household props can be used for many of these games. We always
keep a few big boxes which can easily be transformed into cars, teddy
bear beds or even robot bodies!

The Everyday

imaginative play with kids

When thinking of
different ideas for pretend play just use everyday experiences that your
child has as inspiration. If they have younger siblings, then teddies,
dolls and toy versions of cribs and prams. If they love travelling, then
a toy car or a row of boxes to make a train. Let your imagination go,
if you don’t have the scaled down version of something then improvise
using something from around the house.

Kitchen Play
Kids love ‘cooking’ and the more realistic the better. Give them cookie cutters, measuring cups, spoons and
playdough. Part of the activity can include decorating a cardboard box with circles to represent hotplates on an oven. You can even cut an oven door for them to open and close!

Help your kids to set up a pretend shop. If they don’t have a real cash register or money use a container and
some spare money/ international coins of your own. Keep tins and small boxes out of the kitchen for them to use and a small basket for the shopper. You can then help them write a shopping list and visit their store. They can take it in turns to be the shopkeeper. A great way for older kids to learn about the value of money and budgets- maybe they only have a certain amount to spend and can’t have everything in the store. Just like real life!

Teddy Bears Picnic
Get the children to decide which teddies will attend, you can even write out invitations for them. Prepare some
food (using play-doh or old kitchen boxes) and pack a basket. Choose a
room in the house or even a shady spot in the garden and set up a
blanket, tea set and the food. This will keep your children entertained as they serve everyone sandwiches and tea. You can even come in and tell a teddy bear story to them all!

Being You
Your child’s favourite people to imitate will most likely be her family
as they form such a large part of her life. Think about the ‘props’ you
use in your life- mobile phone, keys, purse, handbag or briefcase.
Provide some for her as well as the obligatory high heels and lipstick!
She can even go to ‘work’ for you and come home to tell you about her
busy day!

Even when your child is
alone they might like to dress in something out of their dress up box
or play a game of shopkeeper. Pretend play can be carried out alone or
with friends and will often reflect recent experiences that your child
has had. Take them to the zoo and watch their imagination go to work
once you get home!
Just be prepared to have a house full of roaring, honking and tooting animals!

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