Family • Wellbeing • Adventure

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Imaginative Outdoor Play

Imaginative play is one of my daughters favourite things to do and to be honest it’s something that I try to encourage. There is nothing more magical than taking a glimpse into their own little worlds of wonder. You may be asking what exactly is imaginative play, and essentially it is when children are role playing and are acting out various experiences they may have had or something that is of interest to them. It's key for a child's development as it shows they are experimenting with decision making, how they are to behave and also polishing off those social skills. Children learn from experience, they take in everything around them and then, to absorb those experiences and make sense of it all, they then become engaged in imaginary play.

Now Darcie is two, nearly three, her imagination is a key part of her playtime and learning. It is also quite interesting to see, as it makes you more aware of everything they are picking up from the world around them. For example, yesterday whilst Darcie was playing with her ELC Happy Land toys, I noticed when she was putting the "childrems", as she calls them, to bed and completely mimicking our own bedtime routine and saying things like "night, night sweetheart". It literally made my heart melt. Occasionally she puts her own twist on that bedtime routine, like a dinosaur interrupting bath time. It really is lovely to watch.

With spring now feeling a little bit more sprung, my thoughts have turned to moving imaginative play to the great outdoors. There is nothing better than playing outside in the fresh air, as lets face it, sometimes our British weather is unpredictable so we just have to make the most of it when we can! Our garden is fairly small, and we are currently working on our garden to make it a place in which both Darcie, Jamie and I can enjoy, but we have still found various ways of bringing imaginative play outdoors.

One way is to simply bring some of your imaginative play games outside, Darcie adores playing with her dolls and Happy Land characters and it makes for even more fun when you're in a completely different setting. Darcie likes to take them on a safari and see what animals and insects she can find, or head to the beach (her sand pit and water table).  It's such a simple idea I know, but to them a whole new world opens up other than the one in your living room.

Another part of imaginative play that Darcie adores is role play. Ever since our trip to Disney Land Darcie has been all about cow boys/girls. So we quite often take her rocking horse, cowboy (girl) hat, and wigwam outside and have a game of cowboys and Indians (just like the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show she saw at Disney). It's so much fun and something that I and Jamie both end up doing with her, often our dog gets involved too!

A wigwam/play tent is a fantastic item to get if you want to encourage imaginative play, Darcie has had so many adventures with hers, from cowboys and indians as mentioned ealier to a fairy tale adventure who is looking for treasure. She also loves this wigwam indoors too so has been so versatile! This one was kindly sent to us by Big Game Hunters and costs £59.99 which I thought was very cheap considering I have seen some similar for £180+!!!

The possibilities for imaginative play are endless, and it’s something that I really want to encourage my children to do. For ideas I always turn to Pinterest and have set up a board to help inspire you all, so if you're interested head over and take a peak.

Hope you are starting to enjoy the warmer weather and make the most out of the wonderful outdoors!

Mummy B xoxox

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