Pretend Play Alongside Your Child

by Stephanie Goins on July 15, 2011

We are straying from wall decals and wall stencils a little this summer in our blog, in an earnest effort to get you playing alongside your little ones. Today, we address pretend play, as it is an important part of a child’s life. Kids are naturally great at this. Through pretend play, kids will role play, practice social skills and expand vocabulary…and, of course, have a lot of fun. Here are a few ideas to get to you started. Happy pretending!


Indoor Camping
Pretend Play IdeasSet up the tent indoors. Gather sticks and leaves and have a pretend campfire. Pretend to roast smores. Make hot dogs. Pull out the sleeping bags. What happens when it gets dark? What do you hear? What animals come into your campsite? Do you invite them in?

Ticket Stub Fun
Hold on to the tickets from your outings (movies, museum, zoo, trip in a plane, Disney World, etc.). These can be used as inspiration for hours and hours of pretend play.
-Movie theater: Arrange the living room to mimic a movie theater. What movie is playing? Imagine that someone’s is talking loudly or cell phone goes off. How will you handle the problem? Etc.
-Zoo: Gather up his stuffed animals and place around the house. Enter the zoo with your tickets and explore. What funny things are happening today at the zoo? What do you see? Hear? Smell? An animal escapes and follows you home… what happens next?
-Plane trip: Arrange the dining room chairs to mimic airplane seats. Designate the pilot, passenger, flight attendant, etc. Board the plane and let your creativity flow. Is there any turbulence? Who is sitting next to you? What will you have to drink?

Weather Forecast
Using a large poster board, make a 5-day forecast chart. Draw clouds, sun, rain, etc. for each day. Have them dress up in formal attire from mom or dad’s closet. Get the video camera ready and record.

Play Silks
A play silk is just a piece of material made from soft silk. Children love to play with these, as they provide endless opportunities for imagination. Young ones will enjoy playing peek-a-boo with them and delight in their silkiness. Older children tend to use them in pretend play. They can become leashes for dogs, dirt for dump trucks, slings for dolls, princess gowns, wizard capes, veils, rescue ropes, lakes, pastures, etc. You will be amazed at the creative uses kids come up with for them! Purchase them online or at your craft store.

Mom and Pop Dress-Up
Give your child permission to wear you or your spouse's clothes. He is sure to delight in being a grown-up for the morning or afternoon.

Speed Dress-Up
Put a spin on this classic activity and play Speed Dress-Up. Set a timer for 2 or 3 minutes, dress up, perform, play the part then...DING...change into something else.

Living Room Rearrange
Let your child help you rearrange the living room for a day. The couch, now in the middle of the room, may become a boat. The ottoman, now turned on its side, may serve as a train. The coffee, now flipped upside down, may resemble a space ship. Let your imagination wanders...