Fall is here! The leaves are changing, sweaters are coming out of storage, and Spellbound has a revamped schedule of Storytime classes located in several new and exciting places. In honor of our new classes, this week's blog post is all about creative play! Engaging your child in creative play develops empathy, provides learning opportunities for kids, and is a great diagnostic for grown-ups to assess said learning. I love it, in my dual capacities of teacher and babysitter, and want to share some tips and activities for inspiring the imagination, and encouraging creative play.
But wait, there's more! We here at Spellbound would love to hear from you! Please comment on this blog post with some of you and your child's favorite creative play activities.
6 1/2 Tips on Playing Creatively
2. Create transferable characters. Does your child love a certain kind of animal? A specific profession or superhero? Help them create a character, based on their interests, that can go on many varied adventures. This way you can get more than one game out of it.
3. Role reversal. Tell your child that in this game they are the Mommy/ Daddy, and you are the baby. Kids love this because they feel like they have the power, and you get to see the astuteness of their observations of you and other adults in their lives.
4. Re-appropriate everyday objects. Encourage your child to use the objects around your home in ways that are not that object's intended purpose. Put a bowl on your head and, voila! It's a hat! A paper towel roll is a paint brush, and a spatula is a microphone.
5. Make it tangible. Encourage you child to draw the character they love pretending to be. Or have them select an item of clothing (or even a whole outfit) that this character wears. These tangible elements offer you an entry point into your child's imagination, and transforms creative play into a shared experience between you and your child. It is also very validating for your child to be able to share their creative play with you and will hopefully lead to more creative play in the future.
6. Freedom within structure. Sometimes kids, especially very young ones, need a little help to get the creative juices flowing. Try offering them some given information as a starting point such as a location "We are at the doctor's office" or a relationship between your characters within the game "You be the doctor and I have a broken leg." Providing your child with broad information like this gives them a jumping off point, but leaves them the freedom to make all the specific decisions within the world you have established.
6 1/2. Switch it up. As kids get older they begin to take on this role of creating the world of the game and will often say things like, "Okay, let's play. I am a puppy and you are my owner." In so doing they are asking you to play within the confines of a world they have created, and now it's your turn to exercise freedom within it. Playing within your child's established rules demonstrates that you are giving them control of the game, while letting them know that you are still there to provide guidance and support.
Creative Play Activity: The Box
An empty box
Step 1: Present your child with the box. Allow them to explore it and realize in their own time that it is empty
Step 2: Mime opening the lid of the box and/ or digging around inside
Step 3: Pull out an imaginary object, say a shoe, out of the box.
Step 4: Mime using that object, putting the shoe on your foot, tying the laces/ buckling or velcroing the straps, etc.
Step 5: Ask your child to guess what the object was based on your movements.
Step 6: Now it's your child's turn to pull out an object, and your turn to guess.
*Please post any pictures you take of you and your little one engaging in creataive play to our Facebook Page, with the hashtag #spellboundcreativeplay, and don't forget to tell us your favorite creative play activities by commenting on this post!