Imaginative play is an amazing way to promote healthy construction of your children’s core beliefs.
Here are 10 types of play to enjoy with your little ones while influencing healthy developmental growth.
10 Types Of Play That Help Children With Imagination
Did you know that the brain waves of children between 2 and 6 years old are operating in Theta and are deeply connected to their internal world or imagination and daydreaming. This age range can be a hypnotic time and the time where a child experiences what we refer to as “programming.”
Early childhood experience insights conditioning that influences our core beliefs. These beliefs stay with us our entire lives and run through our minds as internal dialogue influencing everything from emotions, behaviors to physiological responses. To heal in the present it is often necessary to reframe past programming and beliefs that are not necessarily true.
An amazing way to promote healthy development of core beliefs is by creating space for imaginative play with your children and recognizing these early experiences are programming who they are becoming and what they believe about themselves.
There are many games and types of play that help children with imagination that need little to no materials. I’ve curated a short list of 10 but there are many ideas online and so many great options that you may find it hard to choose. It will always depend on how old your child is and what he/she/they love the most. You can make your own version of any of these games so feel free to use your imagination while inspiring your child to use theirs!
1. Guess which animal I am
For this game you don’t need any materials but you can always make it more fun by using household items to mimic animal parts, for example a blanket as a bird’s wings, or a kitchen towel for a dog’s tail. Make sounds, move around and even give yourself a name. Take turns in acting out and guessing, promoting your child to create as well. You could also make up a new imaginative animal, maybe one that has wings, a fin and beautiful soft fur!
2. Dance party
Dancing is an active healthy way to help give children confidence, it makes them feel happy and it pushes their imagination to create moves according to the music they hear. Play around with different genres and see how they respond. There will be some they like more, some they like less, just like us. To make it even more fun you can dress up or use hula-hoops.
This one is a classic and it’s so much fun! However, sometimes we have to give it a little more excitement. A good idea is creating new hiding spaces around the house with blankets, turning the tables on the side, etc. don’t worry about making a mess, playing comes first! You can spice up the game by giving your children some bells they have to carry with them, trying to be as silent as possible when they are going to hide, this makes it extra difficult. Use the same bells when you hide and perhaps give them a jingle that gives a hint to where you are. Another great idea is going out in nature and playing hide-and-seek there, you can dress up with natural colors like green or brown so that they can learn how to camouflage!
4. What happens next?!
Start telling a story, either about something or someone you know or an imaginary character of your (or your child’s) choosing. When you come to a dramatic moment, you can say “and then…” inviting your child to continue the story and make up what happens next. You continue telling the story until you get to another dramatic section and raise your voice to say “and then…” Keep going like this until you finish the story together with “and finally!” You can make it more fun by using small figurines of animals or toys you have laying around. Another fun way to do this is with sock puppets, you can prepare your sock characters together with buttons and strings to make funny looking actors.
5. Paint the world
This game requires a lot of imagination plus some time and materials. You will need relaxing nature sounds, a quiet room and large white paper for the wall. Cover one wall, it doesn’t have to be the whole wall, you can cover only as high as your child can reach. Give them some coloured pencils or markers that don’t go through the paper and let them paint the world. Play nature music while talking your child through the natural scene you are mentally creating. You can play some African music and tell them about lions and zebras or play the sounds of water and tell them about a waterfall in the jungle with snakes, bears and monkeys. For an added level of imagination play some natural sounds and ask them what they can hear and see in their mind and invite them to bring it to life on the paper. Sounds of birds chirping, crickets, frogs, wolves, owls… there’s so many options to get creative with! Plus, if your child is experiencing overwhelming emotions such as anger or nervousness, this can help relax them, and you.
6. Cloud shapes
We have all done this at least once in our lives. I love looking at clouds and finding different animals or faces. Most of the time they are funny looking fish or dragons, sometimes it’s a big beautiful whale smiling down at me. I adore this game.
Go lay down outside, make it comfy with a blanket and a lot of pillows. You could try some funny looking sunglasses for kids, a long stick to point at the clouds or some see through coloured paper to apply “filters” to the sky, there are so many options! Just find the ones that you like most and go spend some time together out in the fresh air.
7. Star gazing
Just like cloud shapes, this game is also about gazing at the night sky and finding shapes of connecting stars. Pack your children up in warm clothes and go lay down outside with nice cozy blankets and pillows, you can fill some water bottles with hot water to keep yourselves warm. The more members of the family that gather, the warmer it will be. You can start taking turns in finding shapes in the night sky and asking others: do you see… an elephant, a cat, a fish?
8. Body painting
This is a game for the summer. Get your swimsuits on and get some eco friendly body paint to start the fun! You can paint each other as animals such as a zebra, a cheetah, a colorful parrot or even a creature from the imagination! Then you can roleplay a story in which each animal has a mission to fulfil (the mission could be a chore made fun.)
9. Music jam
Children love music. Listening to music is fun, dancing to it too, but making music goes above and beyond! You don’t need real instruments for this, you can get crafty and build your own, or simply go to your kitchen and start tuning all those pots and pans to see which ones sound best! To get even more creative you can make your own lyrics to go along with your new songs. Click here for some simple ideas on how to make your own instruments.
It’s never too early to start whipping up some magical recipes. Time in the kitchen is a way to create a special bond, make a mess together and have lots of fun! Get a good apron, a high stool and some fresh and tasty ingredients. To begin it may be best to create dishes that do not require a cooking element and that are easy for kids to make. This activity is about imagination, so let your children have fun and try the ingredients: touching, squishing, smelling, tasting… it’s all allowed. Once they have gotten to know the ingredients, let them decide what they want to make and how. Don’t forget, they are the chefs, you are simply their helping hand.
I wish you and your little ones hours and hours of fun, healthy play that harnesses the imagination. I’m always here with guidance and assistance in implementing simple daily life endeavors to promote overall health. It’s my passion to help my loved ones, clients and their families with optimal health, I have over 15 years experience in healthcare and I’m your ally, ready to support you with biofeedback testing, bioenergetic resonance and my Loving Kindness Method.
Be well and have fun,