Imaginative play is not only enjoyable, it also allows kids to explore their creativity and learn from the characters they are portraying. Almost all kids will jump only at the mention of the phrase “imaginative play” and at the sight of the dress-up clothes and props, and without much effort from you, they will gamely involve themselves in the play. But to further excite the kids and have them join in imaginative play, you can consider the following tips.
Have lots of different kinds of dress-up clothes. What kids want are costumes for prince, princesses, superheroes, and fairies. They also love costumes for neighborhood people like policemen, doctors, nurses, and even mommy and daddy. While you can buy clothes from thrift stores or garage sales, it will save you a lot if you look through your closet. Maybe you have a vintage dress there, or an 80’s gown, or a cute superhero tee. To save even more, ask old clothes from family members, relatives, and friends. Make sure to wash the clothes to make them safe for kids. Fix the broken parts and adjust the seams and hems as well. And don’t forget to put embellishments.
Prepare plenty of props. Ideas for props are as limitless as the ideas for imaginative play themes. If you are going for fairy tale plays, make sure to collect tiaras, crowns, and swords. Sunglasses, binoculars, compass, treasure chest, gold coins, and maps are required if you are having a treasure hunt-themed play. Hats, scarves, and stuffed animals are needed in almost all types of imaginative plays.
Put make-up on the kids. Applying make-up on the kids helps in making their characters more real. Be reminded though that children’s skin is somewhat sensitive, so light blush and lipstick are usually enough. If the story requires, you can also put mustache on the boys using eyeliner.
Allow the kids to make up a story. To make the kids more interested in the imaginative play, let them have a say on the flow of the story, or better yet, provide them the opportunity to make up their own play. Allow them to assign the characters among themselves and let them decide the costumes and props they will need. Although it will be a bit raucous at first, you will be surprised at the display of their creativity.
Have lots of music options. Kids will better appreciate the imaginative play and portray their characters if there is appropriate background music. Much better if you play different kinds of music for every part of the imaginative play. In addition to music, it will also help to have sound effects, although kids typically enjoy producing sound effects themselves.
After their imaginative play, ask the kids to gather their things and keep them in a basket or one big bag. So the next time they are up for another imaginative play, they can easily locate their costumes and props. This also makes them responsible for these things.