pretend play

Space Activities #11: Space Pretend Play

As Einstein said, “Imagination will take you everywhere,” so for a play-of-the-day, kids can blast off with some space pretend play.

play with a box

Space pretend play doesn’t necessarily require any materials, but kids might want to have a few things. A space suit is beyond most dress-up tickle trunks, although kids are great at turning a small item like a wrist band into all they need. A rocket is much easier to do. To make a rocket or space ship start with an empty cardboard box. Using markers, kids can color on some controls. Your recycling basket will quite likely have other items. An aluminum pie plate could be a window. Glue or tape some plastic water bottle caps to be control buttons. Make stars from cereal boxes or scrap paper. Just getting the rocket ready needs lots of imagination.

Once it’s time to blast off, kids will use some of what they already know and will create what they need. Pretend play is a combination of fantasy as well as reality. Not only that, it mixes thinking with action. Most kids understand that space is far away and rockets zoom but they imagine what they see and hear. Their brains analyse problems and come up with solutions. Kids thinking will also include planning, predicting, and comparing, to name just a few.

Blocks, Lego, and other construction toys might be included in space pretend play. Blogger mum and educator at made some wonderful space story stones. Kids use these to create their own scenarios about astronauts, aliens, planets, rockets, asteroids, satellites, stars, etc.

space pretend play

During pretend play, kids can play by themselves or with others. Besides thinking and physical skills, social and emotional skills are also involved. For so many aspects of development, pretend play is a vital component. As children play, whatever they imagine helps them make sense of the world around them. Is your child ready to blast off for some space pretend play?

#21: Construction and Transportation Imaginative Play

Construction and transportation imaginative play appeals to kids of various ages, stages, and interests.  Pretending is a vital part of development.

transportation imaginative playKids will play with only cars, trucks, and other transportation toys without anything else. Well, without other kinds of toys that is, but with their own actions and  imagination. Although it sounds like a contradiction, pretend play is both vast and tiny at the same time, both unlimited and yet highly structured and controlled.

transportation imaginative playA child can place cars and trucks anywhere in time and space, but the play might be limited to how two trucks interact with each other. Nevertheless, this boy’s dad says his son will play with these for long stretches of time. Sometimes, the trucks talk in words and other times, their conversation is truck noises like revving engines and changing gears.

transportation imaginative playOr, play could be about going off to work in a truck. This child is pretending he is a worker and has loaded his lawnmowers in the back. At this moment in time, his world is limited to how he imagines it feels to have a job, to explore the world of work. Figuring out the world is an enormous challenge and imaginative and pretend play is a way to explore one small bit at a time.

playing with blocksKids will also play with only construction toys, stacking them up to make a tower, bridge, robot, spaceship, castle, or something else they imagine. These toys might be wooden blocks, plastic bricks, or some other material.

construction transportation imaginative playCombining transportation and construction toys expands play. Suddenly, children can create towns and cities. They are feeling confident about creating and exploring a bigger chunk of the world through their imagination. It might be the size of a small square on the rug.

transportation imaginative playThe construction and transportation imaginative play may take up the entire living room. In either case, and for play in between, there is a great deal more happening than we see on the outside. Wouldn’t it be fascinating if we could see inside a child’s mind too?

Pretend Play with Dinosaurs: Both New and Old

The authors of Dinovember have a new version of their book with more photos. Pretend play with dinosaurs can be constantly new and different, yet based on timeless play and prehistoric creatures.

dinosaur pretend playDinosaurs may have lived more than 60-million years ago but to kids, they can be as new as today’s play. Although the dinosaurs all died off long ago, they live in children’s imagination. In the words of Carl Sagan, “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.” Imagination is amazingly timeless and alive with possibilities.

As children pretend, both minds and bodies are engaged. Just thinking about going up in an elevator is enough to make eye muscles respond and go up too. However, as kids are involved in pretend play they are usually very active and bodies fly, bend, twist, stomp and more. Brains are very active, creating new pathways and connections, figuring out relationships and interactions.

Kids don’t necessarily need any dinosaurs for dinosaur pretend play. They can just be. However, there are inexpensive plastic dinosaurs small enough to fit in a child’s hand or as big enough to ride in a playground. Putting a whole bunch of tiny blocks together can make a huge dino sculpture. This Lego one was made as adults played.

A dinosaur tail is quick and easy to sew. Stuff it with light weight material so it’s not too heavy as kids play. These dino feet are also very simple; they are two tissue boxes covered with green paper and white teeth. They are somewhat slippery tho as kids take big dinosaur steps. A headband takes almost no time to make but can give kids hours of fun.

Usually, as kids play, they make up their own stories to go along with what they are doing. If the “dinosaurs” seem stuck on eating each other up, you can ask if they would like to have an adventure, such as making a dino blanket fort, or exploring the jungle. Whatever they do, aren’t kids and dinosaurs are a great combination for play?

October Alphabet: I is for Imaginative Play

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter I for imaginative play. Albert Einstein himself said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” The month of October is a dramatic time for the changes in nature and these seem to make a backdrop for the drama of Halloween. No sooner do the green leaves of … Continue reading October Alphabet: I is for Imaginative Play

March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #16

Pinocchio Play-of-the-Day Pinocchio is not just a puppet, he is a character with a dream. Even though he’s made of wood, he shares many characteristics with kids and adults too. Gepetto, a wood carver, creates a boy puppet. He loves Pinocchio very much but Pinocchio, like real children, doesn’t like to be controlled by others … Continue reading March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #16

March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #13

Beauty and the Beast Pretend Play-of-the-Day The story of Beauty and the Beast and today’s play-of-the-day can help young children deal with the common fear of monsters and scary creatures. Some are afraid of such ordinary things as a vacuum or their own shadow. You can either read this story to your child or tell … Continue reading March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #13

Part Nine: To a Child, Love is Spelled T I M E

Spending Time and Pretend Play with Kids As parents and caregivers, we especially do not need to be experts when we engage in pretend play with our children, because we can imagine anything we need! Instead of calling the time with kids ‘spending’, it should be ‘investing’. We all have the skills to be able … Continue reading Part Nine: To a Child, Love is Spelled T I M E