Imaginative play is part of childhood. Dressing up and pretending to be characters from faraway lands, favorite characters in stories, and community helpers all help children make sense of the world around them. Building forts out of sheets in the yard and creating caves under the dining room table are part of the magic that is childhood.
Having recently read The Costume Trunk for From Left to Write, I was inspired to bring favorite stories to life for the sole purpose of activating the imagination. Here are 6 books that you can read to fuel your child’s imagination, create conversation, and show that you want to preserve their childhood as you accompany them on wonderful adventures!
Create a dress up box— The Costume Trunk is all about a spectacular box full of a wide variety of garments that the children find and allow them to be anything they want to be. Create your own dress up collection by assembling old costume jewelry, parts of previous years’ Halloween costumes, and items from consignment or thrift stores to create a treasure trove of materials that provide open-ended play that’s only limited by the imagination.
Go exploring— Remember We’re Going on a Bear Hunt? Act out your own bear hunt in your backyard. Make some toilet paper roll binoculars, don a backpack, and bring a butterfly net and set off into the wild of your neighborhood to act out the story.
Attend afternoon tea— Who doesn’t love to dress up and play tea party? While playing tea party and using fancy dishes is always fun at home, switch it up and find a local tea. A real life tea party is a wonderful excuse to dress up a la Fancy Nancy, use your best manners, and snack on finger sandwiches and scones. We recently attended tea a Prince and Princess Tea at Strathmore Mansion that was a wonderful experience. The kid friendly fare, an appearance by a prince and princess, and a princess story read by the princess herself at the conclusion made for a spectacular break from reality as we immersed ourselves in a refined world with royalty.
Be a zookeeper— Just as the gorilla and zookeeper say goodnight to all of the animals in Good Night, Gorilla before going to bed, your child can do the same by lining up favorite stuffed animals and wishing them sweet dreams.
Go on a rock hunt— Who knows if the rocks around your yard might be the magic pebble like the one Sylvester from Sylvester and the Magic Pebble had! A rock hunt can yield all kinds of interesting conversation about the attributes of a magic pebble and its powers!
Practice organic farming– Everyone says is convinced those carrots won’t come up in The Carrot Seed. Activate the imagination by talking to your kids about what they think will happen when they put the seeds in dirt. Will they or won’t they come up like in the story? They will be amazed at how quickly and easy it is to grow their own carrots in a paper cup with some soil and then will tell those naysayers otherwise!
These are only some of the many books that can spark the imagination. What are your household favorites? How do they inspire imaginative play in your house?
This post was inspired by The Costume Trunk, this month’s From Left to Write book club selection. I received a copy of the book for review purposes. Strathmore provided tickets for us to attend tea. No compensation was received for this post. Amazon affiliate links are contained in this post. All opinions are my own.
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