Over the holidays I have most enjoyed watching the boys play. It’s great to see the dynamics between them and now they include their littlest brother who is only 18-months old. While they received lots of Star Wars Lego as gifts (thank you everyone!) and other great toys and games, I was surprised to see what they have spent most of their holidays doing – pretend play.
The importance of pretend play is something that is often overlooked in our busy lives. As parents we focus so much on development through activities outside the home. Preschoolers these days are part of math programs, reading programs, sports, dance, and so much more. When do they have time to simply sit down and play with each other? Pretend play teaches children many skills they will need as they grow older. It nurtures creativity and imaginative skills, promotes social skills, aids in physical development, teaches leadership, and also may be your child’s first real understanding of limitations and boundaries. It is a healthy form of play and one that you can do with your child or if they have siblings they can do together. Some other great places for children to do pretend play is at indoor playgrounds which often have a dress up corner. Just ensure the costumes are cleaned regularly.
My boys are close in age and have similar interests which helps them to play together more. They still build their Lego kits but once complete, they turn into the characters in the Star Wars movie and play out all the scenarios they can think of. In fact, many times they have played the entire movie. Sometimes, on slow days, even the entire Star Wars trilogy.
Last week I went to the dollar store to purchase some swords I could use as light sabres for my middle son’s 5th birthday party coming up. As soon as I brought the swords home, my sons (including the baby) turned into soldiers. The fireman hats I had purchased long ago turned into soldier hats and the kids starting battling.
Here are some of my ideas on where to get dress up play stuff.
- The dollar stores have great items that are inexpensive like hats, swords, wands, princess costumes, bags, jewelry, etc.
- Toys R Us has a fabulous selection of costumes for pretend play that are good quality. You can also find a lot at Walmart, Zellers and Party Packagers.
- Supply your kids with things around the house like little brooms for swords, pots and pans turn into drums, empty paper towel rolls turn into light sabers, an old skirt can be made into a cape or princess dress, a handkerchief becomes a pirate hat; the possibilities are endless.
- Halloween costumes are a great addition for pretend play. For the past three years the boys have been characters from Transformers and Star Wars and the costumes have been used beyond just the one Halloween night.
- You can “set the stage” by reading part of their favorite story. Instead of reading them the ending, tell them to act it out any way they want to.
So the next time your kids need an activity to do, transform your room into another land and join them in the adventure.
More from entertainment