Encouraging your toddler’s imagination is so important. In their early years kid’s brains are growing and developing at a very rapid pace, and everything you do from simply talking to them, to going on walks, to playing games help their brains make connections. The more you do with them, the more connections they build and retain. Here are 10 of my favorite ways to encourage your toddler’s imagination.
I received Just Pretend Kids dress-up items in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.
1. Puppets of all kinds- Hand, finger, or shadow they are all fun. Use any kind of puppet to invent stories and play games. These props allows kids to create all kinds of stories and situations.
2. Building forts- Kids will have a blast with this one and even though it can be messy, this is one of our favorites. You toddler will love coming up with new ways to drape sheets and blankets and you will love seeing them practice their problem solving skills.
3. Invite friends- The more the merrier. I am always amazed at how much more exciting play becomes when you have a friend around, imaginative play is no different!
4. Music- Listen to your favorite tunes and make your own. Exposing toddlers to music is so fun! Encourage them to dance and move. Don’t forget to make your own music too, let your kids collect instruments from all around the house using ordinary objects, you will be amazed what they come up with!
5. Head outside- Go on a scavenger hunt. Hit the playground. Bust out the water table, or even a bucket of water! Talk to your toddler about what they see or find. I am amazed at what my kids say and do when I let them take the lead on our walks. It is good for them and I get to see the world through the eyes of a child which is priceless!
6. Art- Another option that tends to get a little bit messy, but you can’t beat the creativity of a good art project. Kids love to explore with paint, crayons, and pencils. Let them have free reign and encourage and praise their efforts not matter how messy.
7. Read- The classic answer for everything! Reading to your kids teaches them so much, have fun with it. Forget the written words sometimes and let your kids tell you what is happening based on the pictures. Point out things they will recognize and teach them names to things they don’t usually see. Ask them what they think will happen next. Encourage their questions and observations. The conversation is just as important as the reading.
8. Role Play- Make dinner. Save the day. Be a princess or a hero. Let your kids develop a scenario when they do they are learning reasoning, social, and verbal skills! Talk to them about emotions as they act through parts of their day or other situations, practice makes perfect and when they are faced with actual situations like these they will be more prepared to handle them!
9. Limit Screen Time- At this young age communication and interaction is key. It is so easy to let our kids watch or play on the computer/tv/ipad all day, but when they are plugged in their brains are not working the same way. The key is moderation. Decide how much screen time you will allow each day and stick to it.
10. Dress-Up- Paired up with role-play this kind of imaginative play is so much fun! These don’t have to be fancy expensive dress ups, use a towel to make a hat or cape. Try on daddy’s shirt and tie, pretend your scarf is a skirt for a queen! The options are limitless.
My kids love to dress up, their box is filled with all kinds of everyday objects that can use for any number of things. But we also have a few high quality dress-up outfits that are so much fun.
Our current favorite’s are Just Pretend Kids Dragon Monster Costume and Fuchsia and Orange Peggy Tutu collection. My little girl has literally worn this tutu for days at a time. I am so glad I don’t have to worry about her climbing and playing in it because it is so well made! My son loves to pretend he is a scary dragon, but he always assures me he is “not really scary, it just looks like he is.” My little girl loves to wear this costume too, you can’t always be the princess right?
Just Pretend Kids has so many fun options for dress-up and role play that your kids can’t help but crank their imaginations up a notch! Head there to find something to jazz up your dress-up box today and make sure you enter the code BLOG40 for 25% off your order! (valid until 12/31/14).