Play is fun!
It’s a time to create, learn, discover and enjoy. Winter is a great time for imaginative play with little ones. There is more time indoors (in close quarters…eeek) and the natives get a bit restless. As moms, we can set the stage and jump into an imaginative world in order to encourage our little ones to join us. Whether it’s the couch turning into an island surrounded by pirates or the kitchen table becoming a raceway, imaginative play will take you anywhere.
Imaginative play, while being fun, has many other benefits for children. During imaginative play a child creates a story where they are expressing and acting out positive and negative emotions in a safe environment. They pretend that someone is hurt, or lost at sea, and get to play through their choice of responses to that situation. They may fake cry, they may act angry, they could act like it was no big deal; A child then processes how that response felt to them.
They are able to try on different situations that pop up in their mind and problem solve through it. All of this adds up to improved social skills, empathy and even communication. These are huge health benefits that come out of a few hours of pure fun!
At home, it can be really fun to create different worlds in different rooms during an indoor day. You can first create props and art-work to set the theme for each room. Decide on characters or costumes that can be taken from everyday items around the house. You can encourage interactive play by helping the kiddos to create the backstory for each room they’ve created.
For example if they have created a volcano room, you can say “On volcano island the most amazing thing happened……”. Each child then adds a line onto the statement to set up the story.
While in home imaginative play can be super fun it can also be a bit messy. Art-work, creating rooms, making props does add up to quite a bit of clean up for mom. Luckily there are now play places in New Jersey you can go to with the kiddos that have set the stage for you in terms of imaginative play.
One place my kids and I love is The Big Playhouse in Westwood NJ. They have room after room staged for kids to play out a ton of different scenarios. My boys absolutely loved the Café’ where they get to take turns cooking and serving up lunch to me. The Grocery Store was also a huge hit with the cash registers and shelves stocked with pretend food. Each room at the Big Playhouse is decorated beautifully with exquisite murals as the backdrop. No corners were cut in creating this fun, safe and exciting space. I highly recommend you check it out. They not only make the imaginative play experience a hit for kids they also take great care of the moms too.
Where do your kids like to play in New Jersey?