1. Dress up
Create a dress-up box. Fill it with costumes, hates, headbands and accessories for instant dressing up play. A doctor, a dragon, astronaut, fairies or even Darth Vader… pretending to be something or someone else will let your child’s imagination run riot. Don’t dismiss DIY costumes and rummaging around the house for items – this will just speak their imaginations further. Sieve on the head anyone?
These are our favourite places to find dressing-up clothes:
- Atelier Spatz – is a Junior Design Award winning studio making luxury children’s costumes.
- Meri Meri – for capes, headbands and quirky costumes that are perfect for parties.
- Fable Heart – for enchanting, dreamy and sparkly capes, wands and crowns.
2. Stimulate senses
Your child will love exploring different textures and scents. Gather leaves, petals and stones from the garden and encourage your child to touch and smell them. Encourage her to do it again, this time with her eyes closed.
>> We love this Nature Hunt Wilderness Explorer collector carry disc the perfect accompaniment on those nature walks, perfect for little hands to handle and carry using the cut out handle, £32.00, Bear & Rue
3. Play along
Help your child to view familiar things in a new and different light. What old rug? Didn’t you know it’s a magic carpet!
>> Need some ideas? Take a look at our guide to How to play the best traditional games
4. Hands off
Try not to guide your child’s play. Research shows children learn more when they are allowed to lead the play experience. For example let them lead the role-play when playing kitchen, shops/markets or doctors and nurses and you do as they ask, to encourage their understanding and imagination of pretend play.
Our favourite places to find sustainable role-play toys:
- Tenderleaf Toys – Find beautiful wooden cafes, kitchens and markets like the Bird’s Nest Cafe that won a Junior Design Award in 2020.
- The Great Little Trading Co. – We love the wooden reversible shop/theatre stand, the seaside fish & chips shop and the new growing garden set (above).
- Le Toy Van – The best doctors kit we have seen as well as the cute Honeybee market stall and grocery sets.
5. Tell tales
Reading and telling stories to your child isn’t just about building literacy skills, it’s also a great way to boost creativity.
>> No better place to get inspired than our Top 100 Children’s Books