Encouraging Creative Play
● By Hood Magazine
Dramatic play, which can be defined as using your imagination to develop a world of pretend, provides children with an outlet for their most creative thoughts and ideas. While dramatic play may seem insignificant, it plays a critical role in childhood development by fostering essential skills such as sharing, communication, leadership and problem solving. It is more difficult than you might think to turn your living room into a restaurant aboard a spaceship.
While many childcare facilities have dramatic play resources readily available, it may be more difficult to imagine what this looks like in a home setting. By integrating commercially available play clothes and resources from within your home, you can have an engaging dramatic play area in no time!
Creative Play Scenarios
Create a classic fort with pillows and blankets or set up a tent in your basement or backyard. Provide kiddos with pots and pans, flashlights, play food, and any other “camping” essentials.
Dust off some of the classic novels sitting on your shelves and turn those books into a child-sized library. Use envelopes and notecards for a checkout system, or even give your kids a taste of the Dewey Decimal System and create an at-home card catalog!
Save used cake mix boxes, empty canned goods and other miscellaneous food containers. Label the items with prices, find cloth or plastic bags to use for shopping, and create an in-home grocery store.
Collect wrappers and containers from a fast food restaurant that can be wiped clean to be used in a kitchen play area. Find extra plates, cups, silverware and glasses and your children will be able to create a true dining out experience.
For additional fun in your dramatic play center, make sure to integrate stuffed animals for pets and dolls for babies. Children will practice an entirely different set of social skills when they are required to take care of a baby while trying to manage a five-star restaurant.
It is not necessary to keep the materials from your dramatic play scenarios separate, the more props on hand, the better! Imagine the scene your children might create given a bin full of dolls, masks, bandanas, tools and jewelry. The possibilities are endless! You might even want to grab your own tinfoil sword and join in!