With my daughter turning 4 soon, pretend (or imaginative) play has been the focus of her days! She loves to make up stories and imagine we are different people – superheros, ballerinas, monsters, animals, grown-ups… I love the ideas she comes up with! She tends to spark my creativity more than I think I ever spark hers. And her little brother (2 years old) has joined in on the fun much earlier than she started…just from watching her.
Our recent favorite scripts have been creating an obstacle course with any and everything and pretending we are explorers trying to find lost items or animals. We have also been doing a lot of dress up recently. We will augment our costumes with art projects of crowns and jewelry.
Two products we have acquired recently that have been wonderful aids to our favorite pretend play scenarios are:
First is the Haba Play Tent. We have the Pirates Treasure but I don’t think it matters what the theme of the tent is. While this takes up a fair amount of space in our small apartment, it is totally worth it! The kids play with it everyday…and it becomes a brand new structure daily. One day it will be a house or a store, the next it is a cave or the best hide and seek hiding place. We got this right around the time my daughter gave up her naps and it morphed into her special place where she does quiet time for an hour each day. She will bring her favorite books or blocks or dolls and quietly play in there without asking for us to play with her (which never happens otherwise). I can tell she feels really safe and secure in there…and cozy. It relaxes her and become an enjoyable way to spend quiet time (vs. the power struggle we were going through before the tent). She sometimes even naps in it!
The second product is the Aeromax Toys Get Real Gear. These are dress up outfits based on actual occupations that look like the real thing. My son has the Jr. Astronaut Suit and my daughter has the Jr. Fire Fighter Suit. We have a lot of dress up options in our house and while they are all fun, I really like these Aeromax ones because they are very high quality (no ripping when trying to to force them on and off by impatient toddlers) and they are so detailed. It is like Halloween everyday! They are a little pricey, but I think they are worth the extra cost because they won’t wear out, they are easy to get on, washable, and can be passed down to the next child.