This post is sponsored by Shape Mags, but like always all thoughts and opinions are my very own.
Imaginative play is so important in the brain development of young children. It's within that pretend play time that children begin to develop creativity. The essential skill that plays a crucial role in the creation of necessary things such as cars, life-saving medicine and for me Netflix. To have a child take an ordinary object and reimagine it into something wildly different is a skill that I want to help flourish in my son. And as a former educator it is a skill that I know will develop critical thinking and help my son become a better learner when he begins school
Here are a few tips to help encourage imaginative play with your child
Now any child can take a doll and make her chat with another doll and yes that is pretend play but I like to have toys where Christian has to reimagine what they should be. It is in the imaginative play that he begins to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. One of my favorite toys to foster this play are Shape Mags. They are magnetic shapes that can be used to build...well anything you can imagine! My son is less than two and though the recommended age for Shape Mags are three we still play with them and he immediately connected similar shapes and made freight that would connect to his magnetic train.
He also loves to take his Shape Mags and make cars where he puts "Daddy and Christian" in the car to drive around. Its super cute! Head over to their shop here and find yours HERE.
2. Ordinary items
Regular household items are also great for imaginative play. Cups are a big hit in the house. They have been pretend hats, bullhorns, and well cups to give our kitty a drink. And blanket forts are a classic. Something magical happens when we make a fort and my son could spend tons of time climbing in, chattering to himself and dragging his stuffed animals in with him.
3. Encourage pretend play
Whatever you do please do not make fun or embarrass your child for pretending. If he or she is a monster, join in and be a monster with them. That game is a favorite in our house which really is just a run around and scream game. But it's seriously the cutest.
4. Don't forget sensory activities
Touch and feel are such important factors that are also a part of pretend play. From sensory water beads, to at home items such as cotton balls, water tables with food coloring, spaghetti noodles are all great and fun items that can be incorporated into imaginative play while also developing sensory skills. Shape Mags are also a great sensory toy. Christian loves feeling the magnetic pull of the blocks and just pulls them apart and reconnects them over and over again.
5. Take time to read
Reading. In just the simple act of reading to your child you can help develop their pretend play skills. Imagining what the characters are doing and how they sound are all fun and easy ways to develop this skill. We take several pauses in a story to make the sounds and noises of the animals and characters in the story.