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How to build a child’s imagination through play

By January 1, 1970April 1st, 2022No Comments

How to build a child’s imagination through play, At Farmer Palmers children have the opportunity to explore their creativity, explore and gain confidence.  Because outdoor play is considered one of the main pillars of learning and development. It teaches and helps children learn to share, demonstrate empathy with animals and decision making. Without our imaginations, we wouldn’t be able to express individuality or make plans for the future.

Can you remember the last time you took a few minutes to daydream? No, we can learn from children. They play for the same reasons we daydream. The act of playing allows them to discover the world from a different perspective. Taking time to test out ideas they have learnt from grown-ups. A perfect example is the role play seen  in the wendy house area. Where do they get the idea of not letting people come “into my house”.

Encouraging pretend play

For overall development this is so important, from an early age. Nowhere will you find better opportunities for children to learn to share and interact with children they do not necessarily know.

Bottle feeding the animals teaches children the concept of sharing

There is no better place than Animal Barn to engage with social learning. As well as being incredible fun, feeding times teach children the importance of working with others. Whilst children are listening to the talk they are also learning to wait, listen and then be surprised by the animals who are keen to drink the milk.

Sand and water play images

Water play and sand tables can be an effective substitute for the beach or being an engineer. The versatility of both materials makes it easy for children to design their own games and encourages working together or how to deal with another child messing up your plans!


Example of role play is when older children take on the embodiment are taking care of younger children.

A classic comment  from the Ladies

“I will stand and hold the door for you, remember do not lock the door. Go on then, I have got the door” said by 5yr old for her 3 yr old brother. “Have you locked the door, I told you not to lock the door didn’t I? Slide it back across, that’s it, well done, now don’t do it again, I will hold the door!” Taking on the characteristics of someone else is incredibly beneficial for children’s emotional development and feeling of responsibility and being grown up.

Pretend play helps them turn tricky concepts such as empathy and perspective into fun games. Dressing up and embodying another person can help children understand exactly how they might act and behave. At a young age, it’s not important which character they choose to become, whether it’s a superhero, a princess or even a frog. Pretend play should mainly be undirected, left to the will of the child, as it is a time for children to think and explore for themselves.


Combine Science And Exploration With Investigatory Play

children who are curious about the natural world, school playground equipment that facilitates their interest can prove to be the perfect spark. Planter benches give children the opportunity to explore the lives of plants and insects, nurturing their inquisitiveness and providing them with a focus for their stories and pictures.

When plants flower in the summer, the vivid colours and smells provide a great sensory experience that offers children the chance to fully engage with their learning. With their imaginations activated, children will find it easier to express themselves. At this point, you can introduce simple scientific principles, such as life cycles and the seasons, to ignite a child’s interest in the way things work.


Engage Children’s Creativity With Active Games

Creative expression doesn’t have to be a sedentary process. Whilst arts and crafts are a fundamental part of imaginative play, you can also use your nursery playground to actively engage your children’s imagination.Playground surfaces can be designed to promote creative games in an outdoor environment, with colourful markings giving children a starting point for independent play. These markings needn’t be complicated and the more versatile they are, the more opportunities children will have for creating their own activities.

You can also look to implement more structured activities, using the playground as a base for creativity. Learning can be made more stimulating through active play, with team games helping children get to grips with problem-solving and decision-making. Children’s climbing frames can add a unique twist to any game and present children with new challenges to overcome with creative thinking.


Author Bio: Sam Flatman is an outdoor learning specialist and an Educational Consultant for  Pentagon Play. Sam has been designing school playground equipment for the past 10 years and has a passion for outdoor education. He believes that outdoor learning is an essential part of child development, which should be integrated into the school curriculum at every opportunity.



Your child’s developing imaginative play is more entertaining than the best cartoon ever made — just watch!

Play is your child’s full-time job — and there’s nothing else that instructs her quite as well in both physical and intellectual development. Playing teaches problem-solving (What can she use to take a picture? What does she need to do to get Teddy ready for bed?).

Not only does it give your child a way to work out her feelings, it also helps her make sense of the world. It creates empathy, as your toddler (sometimes literally) puts herself in someone else’s shoes (whether it’s a parent, teacher, farmer or princess). And when other kids enter the scene, there’ll be a whole new layer of complexity (Who plays what role? What if Hannah doesn’t want to be the daddy, or even play house at all?) as your little one learns communication, social skills and the art of negotiation.

Pretend play, sometimes called symbolic play, imaginative play, dramatic play or good old make-believe, also introduces the concept that one thing can “be” another — a huge leap in your child’s understanding. After all, numbers and words are just squiggles and lines that stand in for math and language. And if something can be something else in a game of pretend, then your toddler can be…anything she wants! Play is fun, of course, but it also teaches them courage and curiosity.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Between 18 and 24 months, many toddlers will begin to play their first “pretend” games by acting out everyday actions they’ve seen adults do — like talking on the phone, putting on shoes and using keys to unlock a door.
  • By 24 months, your toddler will most likely display signs of “representational thinking” and “symbolic thinking” — in other words, one object (like a toy banana) can start to stand in for another (like a phone — ring-ring, who’s calling on the banana phone!). At this age, your toddler may start to play with dolls as if they are “real:” feeding them, putting them to bed and giving them roles to act out. Your toddler might also enjoy play-acting herself, pretending to be asleep, pretending to drive a car or pretending to be Mommy or Daddy to give her baby doll a bottle.
  • Between age 2 and 3, your toddler will start to demonstrate increasingly complex representational and symbolic thinking in her play. A 2-year-old needs a toy baby bottle to look like more or less like a bottle, whereas a 3-year-old might use a shoe as her “bottle” — her imagination will close the gap between what’s real and what’s pretend.
  • By age 3, your child’s pretend play is firing on all cylinders: This is the age of tea parties, construction sites, dinosaur battles, fairy castles and horsey rides.
  • By age 4, your child’s imaginative play will include even more elaborate make-believe scenarios, with extended storylines and lots of character acting. In other words, just about as much fun as a little person can have.

How to help your child discover pretend play

Toys that resemble objects from the real world tend to be big hits with toddlers taking their first steps into role-play and make-believe. Kid versions of adult things, like keys, phones and shopping carts, are great first building blocks for pretend play, as are dolls, blocks, vehicles and dress-up clothes. Reading stories aloud to your child — often! — will also encourage toddlers to adapt scenarios and characters for their own imaginative purposes.

As your toddler’s make-believe play develops, introduce versatile, basic playthings that are less obviously the kid version of something in the real world. A cardboard box can be a rocket ship, a cradle or a city bus. An empty paper towel roll can be a telescope, a microphone or a tunnel. A bath towel can be a cape, a blanket or a field of snow. Let your toddler take the lead in pretend play — you might be surprised at the original uses she might come up with for an empty egg crate, for instance.

What not to worry about

Your toddler’s pretend play might cause a few very real quandaries: What do you do when she insists on wearing a nightie to preschool (for the third day in a row) because it’s her magical queen’s gown? How do you redirect a massive dinosaur migration that’s made its way under the kitchen table just in time for dinner?

Try to be flexible, within the limits of what’s safe. Setting and enforcing rules (like “no hitting with the magic wand”) is appropriate, but it’s also helpful to remember that toddlers haven’t yet learned that there are boundaries between real and pretend, public and private. There will be lots of opportunities to teach those lessons as your child grows — choose your battles and follow your instincts about what’s right for your family.

Like many toddlers (about two-thirds of children by the age of 7, in fact!), your little one might invent an imaginary friend. Contrary to what you might have heard, this doesn’t mean she’s lonely or that her fantasy-world has taken over. In fact, experts now emphasize that the invention of an imaginary friend signals that a child is creative and social. Your toddler’s imaginary friend gives her a way to express herself, problem-solve and add new dimension to her symbolic play.

Your best bet is to follow your little one’s lead and “befriend” her imaginary pal, taking an interest in how they play together and encouraging your child’s creativity.















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