This overview of playing pretend from CafeMom is the absolute sweetest! When toddlers hit a certain point of development (say, around 3-4), they really thrive with playing pretend. And that’s all centered around imagination!
Why do we lose this awesome play skill? We can still dive into fantasy with pretend movies, books and plays. But as we grow into adults we begin to lose are “pretend play” muscle that toddlers have mastered from the start. Though it seems actors get to keep it!
Little Tikes toys bring me back to my childhood when I used to play pretend and helps me to live vicariously through my little ones with their innovative toys. Seeing my kids play makes me want to join in with them!Quote from Sia Cooper at CafeMom
Forget “living vicariously” I say. Let your inner child out and don’t forget to use your imagination like Peter did!
You can make or purchase a toddler-size house, a little kitchen, or set up a red wagon full of tools for outside. Merge fantasy and reality and let your child decorate with stickers before they impress you with how they can “call you” or “make you cookies” for dinner from their own space.
This independent expression of creativity is really cool because you have a perfect chance to communicate with and completely focus on your child(ren) as they demonstrate what they know (in probably the most adorable way we can think of).
Get some “cleaning toys” for your toddler so when you are cleaning up around the house you can trick- or uh, I mean get them to “play pretend” doing grown up stuff with you. 😉
The other really popular item that the author at CafeMom (a personal trainer and fellow parent) recommends is a mini vanity for those little ones who enjoy watching, talking, and otherwise getting ready with you. This can be complete with a pretend hair dryer and makeup kit as well as your own “real” towels, brushes, and mirrors.
The key is in the combinations! Toddlers enjoy the functional/helpful aspects of playing as well as the free flow of ideas that they come up with, so having some items set out for them and you to start out your playtime is a good idea. But don’t be surprised if (when) new twists and turns develop (is there a dinosaur in your kitchen? Yeah, us too!). Here’s to having the most fun!