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My mom philosophy is two parts “everything in moderation” and one part “survival, man.” So I don’t forbid screen time and I’m not above throwing on a movie when I have work I have to get done (especially since I work from home while providing full-time care to my kids with no hired help). But I also try to limit those things as much as possible and encourage imaginative play for my kids as much as I can. Imaginative play is so so important to child development. It helps to develop both cognitive and social/emotional skills. Children LEARN through PLAY. So I thought I would share a few tips for how I encourage imaginative play with my kids, especially as a mom who can’t always get down on the floor and play with them all day.
How to Encourage Imaginative Play
Schedule Free Play
We over-schedule our kids these days, even the little ones. Instead of packing their days with playdates, preschool, and other activities, leave their days free for play — or “schedule” free play. You would be amazed at how much and how well your kids play on their own when given the freedom to do so.
Provide Open-Ended Toys
Give your kids a variety of toys that encourage them to use their imaginations like building toys, dolls, dress up items, animals, cars and trains, and craft supplies all fall into this category. One of my and my kids’ favorite types of these toys are PLAYMOBIL sets. PLAYMOBIL sets are high quality with a strong attention to detail. They have sets that focus on real-life, like police and firefighter sets as well as sets that capture fantasy like dragons and dinosaurs. I like them because they often have both vehicles and people included which allows multiple facets of imaginative play. Hover over the image below to get more information about the PLAYMOBIL toys shown and to purchase at Walmart.
Show Them How It’s Done
If your kids are asking for you to play with them, show them how to use their imagination by getting them started and doing it yourself too. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t want to pretend to be a kitty cat all day long (and that’s ok, so exhale that mom guilt) but if we spend a few minutes at the start getting down and playing our kids will often get lost in their own imaginative play after a few minutes.
Sometimes you just need a change of scenery to spark the imagination. Get outside to play, or pack up a few favorite imaginative toys like the PLAYMOBIL Take Along Sets or some favorite cars and head to the backyard or the park. The same toys in a new environment can make all the difference in new ideas and ways to play.
PLAYMOBIL toys are a family classic, but they are now new to Walmart – how awesome is it to be able to find quality toys at a convenient retailer and at a great price!? You can find them at your local Walmart or Walmart.com.