Hi Miss Rachel here!
You probably remember playing school or house with your friends. These are all examples of creative or imaginative play. Maybe you pretended to work on a farm, acted like a firefighter, or were a play nurse/doctor. Little did you know but you were practicing valuable skills during those play sessions. Creative play allows children to practice social interactions, study cause and effect relationships, stretch their imaginations, and work on their early literacy!
Since we’re all staying home for the next several weeks, now is a great time to play and interact with your child or children this way. I’ll list a couple of tips here to get you started. Don’t tell them what to do or how to do it. A large portion of this is giving them the opportunity to imagine what might happen if they were a chef, firefighter, doctor, or polar bear. Just like any other fantasy, getting everything technically correct is not the point. The point is to allow your mind to explore and to have fun.
You can and should make them props using objects already in your home. A pair of over the ear headphones can be a stethoscope (or not). Stuffed animals, Mommy, Daddy, or Cousin Sue can be patients, cars, horses, or anything else your child can think of. Build a pillow fort in the living room and suggest you explore the cave together. Set out a few props and ask, “What should we do with these things?” Make gentle suggestions. Never give a child more than three options for games, activities, foods, etc. Just like we get overwhelmed by too many choices, so do they. Most importantly, remember to have fun.
Here are some links to great articles on the social, emotional, and developmental benefits of creative play and how to encourage it in your kids.