pretend play

Fairy and Elf Activities #1 for Boys and Girls: Fairy Pretend Play

Today’s play-of-the-day is fairy pretend play. The expression, ‘away with the fairies’ means to be day-dreaming or in another world, like pretend play. When children are engaging in imaginative play, they are creating that other world in their mind and sometimes even building it with their toys.fairy pretend play

One of the favorite children’s picture books at our house is The Wishing of Bibby Malone by Joy Cowley. A young girl, misunderstood in her family, spends time dancing and singing with the fairies or little people. And wishing. Her family insists she was away two months. After many years of practice and hard work, Biddy’s wishes to be able to sing and dance do come true. Was this because of the fairies or herself?

During pretend play, we see children playing but, like Biddy Malone, they are working hard. Their brains are organizing information, sorting through what children know from their experiences, and linking it to make new combinations. The connections are happening on more than a brain level, as they move their bodies to respond to their thoughts and find the depths of their emotions in their hearts.fairy pretend play

Fairy pretend play doesn’t need much in terms of props. There are many colorful costumes available for girls, and a few for boys, but kids may also put together their own. A simple dress-up for girls is a tutu, but boys’ costumes are often what we think of as gnomes, leprechauns, forest creatures, elves or Peter Pan. This may have more to do with what’s available to them rather than their gender. Fortunately, magical powers, wands, and flying wings are acceptable for both boys and girls.

As an adult, have you ever been advised to “act as if?” That’s a way of tapping into the power of the imagination to achieve a goal. During childhood, we need to encourage pretend play so children can develop their imaginations. “Imagination makes it possible to experience a whole world inside the mind.” (Success Consciousness: The Power of Imagination)

How will imaginative play be part of your child’s day?

You can come ‘away with the fairies’ and play each day on the 123kindergarten blog.

Mayhem and Messy Play #11: Dress-up Messy Play

Dress-up messy play is usually considered imaginative or pretend play, but it can make quite a mess with dress-up props strewn about and made-up faces. Labels do no matter. Whatever it is, the play is coming from within, as kids explore and create.

dress-up messy play

Kids will dress-up in practically anything, not just old clothes. A tickle trunk can have costumes, shoes, towels, and bright or sparkly bits of fabric. Paper bags and cardboard tubes can be decorated too. Wings and crowns are often needed, so some materials to make these is useful, as are super-hero capes and cloaks.

As kids dress-up in different clothes and costumes they are also trying-on different people. Kids see other people from the outside and do not have much information about what is happening on the inside. They have to imagine what it’s like to be the store clerk, the brave hero, the mom, the dad, the baby, the pet, the boss, the rescuer, and even the bad guys. Dressing-up as these characters is part of the play package.darth vader dress-up play

Although kids often do this even without any props at all, dressing-up serve to explain to us the new reality. Costumes and other props invite children into an experience. Cosplay is immensely popular with adults in the same way. We can take off who we are and put on someone else and create a different version of the world.

About the age of two, kids will start engaging in pretend play. It could be just pretending to take a sip of something from an empty play cup but the play will become much more involved. Like other play activities, it’s a vital part of early learning and development. New pathways and connections are formed in the brain and children practice thinking skills like problem-solving, organizing, making choices, comparing, and more. On an emotional level, kids can explore feelings and ways to interact with others. This helps for empathy and understanding. Physically, dress-up play is active and bodies get plenty of exercise.dress-up play

Both boys and girls enjoy dress-up play and will wear clothes associated with the other gender. They will also both try out make-up and like to decorate their faces, by themselves or with help. How else can they explore the different parts of the world around them? Will dress-up messy play be a play-of-the-day?


Practical Pretend Play for Kids – Magic Wish for Preschool & Kindergarten #8

Practical pretend play and resources for kids is magic wish #8. For this blog series, parents are sharing something they wish could be in early programs. Even if it’s imaginary, pretend play helps kids with the real world.

playing in the kitchen

When kids pretend, they are taking a slice of reality. They juggle this bit all around and stretch it in all directions. This kind of play is children’s way of figuring out how the real world works. If we look at the world from a child’s perspective, they see many different people from the outside. They can only guess what that feels like on the inside. So kids try-on the character of the boss, the bad guy, the rescuer, the leader, the worker, the store clerk, the superhero, the sports player, and others each time they try on a costume.

Many times, kids don’t even need the costumes or props. They can do all this with imagination. But having them is a kind of permission. Having some resources for practical pretend play tells kids they are allowed to try on different roles. While we think kids are testing our patience all the time, they are trying to figure out the boundaries of what’s acceptable and what’s not. This knowledge comes from experience. Plus, when other people see kids in costumes or dress-up clothes, they know what to expect. Would we let kids growl at us and order us around? Not usually, but if a child is wearing a dragon hat or a pirate costume we would.

In addition, props give kids a chance to be hands-on and personal with real items that grownups use. For example, Nicolle suggests having some of the things from a restaurant. These could be order pads, cash registers, tablecloths and napkins, and serving trays. Or, perhaps a gift shop, with an assortment of things to buy. Kids would also love to play with real tools and real musical instruments. This is the practical aspect of practical pretend play.

practical pretend play

Pretend or imaginary play is a vital part of children’s development. Can it be your child’s play-of-the-day?


Toy Kitchen Christmas Fun Adds Imaginative and Pretend Play to the Day

Toy kitchen Christmas fun cooks up play and learning for kids. Real kitchens are super busy now and kids often imitate what we do as they play. Toy kitchens are not just girl toys. Lots of boys enjoy playing in them as well. Since it’s Christmas, it might be elves playing in the kitchen anyway. … Continue reading Toy Kitchen Christmas Fun Adds Imaginative and Pretend Play to the Day

Dragon Dress-up Pretend Play: Imagination Helps with Reality

Imaginative play can help kids understand and cope with reality, so open up the tickle trunk—it’s time for some dragon dress-up pretend play. This play roars. A tickle trunk is just another name for the box, basket, old suitcase, or drawer that holds the collection of dress-up clothes and accessories. Halloween isn’t the only time … Continue reading Dragon Dress-up Pretend Play: Imagination Helps with Reality

Halloween Pretend Play: Kids Plus Costumes = Cosplay aka Dress-Up

Kids have been enjoying dress up and costume play (cosplay) for generations but Halloween pretend play is certainly special. Everyone else plays too! While cosplay generally means putting on the costume as well as the words and actions of a specific character, kids add their own interpretations. A costume, or any dress-up play, invites explorations. … Continue reading Halloween Pretend Play: Kids Plus Costumes = Cosplay aka Dress-Up

Learning and Fun Bus Activities #3: Bus Pretend Play for Kids

What’s Powering the Bus? Imagination! Have imagination will travel; hop on with us for a bus pretend play activity for kids. Destination: wherever we want. Adults must be accompanied by kids. Pretend play happens anytime and anywhere with kids. Plus, they can turn anything into what they need. For bus pretend play, a few chairs … Continue reading Learning and Fun Bus Activities #3: Bus Pretend Play for Kids

Before I Go to Kindergarten #16: Pretend Play Helps Learning

According to Einstein, “Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.” Therefore, a powerful activity for preparing kids for school is pretend play. We can’t see from the outside but as kids engage in pretend play their brains are seriously working. Brains are connecting different bits of information kids already know to actions and emotions. For example, … Continue reading Before I Go to Kindergarten #16: Pretend Play Helps Learning

Olympics #4: Opening Ceremony Inspires Pretend Play Parade

The Olympic Games Opening Ceremony can inspire today’s activity: a pretend play parade and performance with music and dancing. Kids can be Team Imagination. Most kids, little and big, love a parade and what could be better than being in one? Like the athletes, they can march around, wave flags, and cheer. Hopefully, the weather … Continue reading Olympics #4: Opening Ceremony Inspires Pretend Play Parade