I love to play “pretend” games with kids, repurposing everyday objects for the purpose of creating new experiences. The capacity to use one’s imagination has increasingly been recognized as a vital skill that is honed in childhood. Time spent in imaginary play as a child translates into an adult capable of visionary thinking (like Steve Jobs!)
Structured activities like music lessons and sports are valuable to children, but don’t forget to “schedule in” some time for your kids to spend powering simple objects with imaginary fuel.
Here’s an easy game that you can play at home with your kids to get those imaginations fired up:
All you need is a scarf for each of you (any cloth or dish towel will also do.) Crumple the scarf up between your hands and tell your child that you are going to change this scarf into different objects with the power of your imagination. Encourage your child to scrunch up their scarf and follow along:
First, tell your child that the scarf has become a picnic blanket. Lay the scarf out on the ground and sit on top of it. Pretend to eat a picnic.
Next, scrunch up the scarf between your hands again. Tell your child that the scarf has now become a magic flying cape. Tie on the scarf as a cape and zoom around the room!
Scrunch that scarf up between your hands again for another transition. This time, tell your child that the scarf has now become a washcloth and it’s time for a bath. Pretend to fill up the bathtub, get inside and wash with your washcloth! Don’t forget to towel dry afterwards!
Scrunch up the scarf one last time and turn it into a blanket. Now it's time to act out getting pajamas on, brushing teeth and curling up under the blanket to sleep!
You can easily play many variations on this game at home using the most basic of objects. Next time, try playing the same game with a box or a stick as a prop!
Do you have any other great examples of pretend games that you already play at home? Please share them with us!