(StatePoint) Role-playing has the power to boost young children’s creativity, allowing imaginations to run free, while honing social and cognitive skills. Here are a few fun ideas for harnessing these playtime benefits:
1. Kitchen Fun: Whether playing “restaurant” or just pretending to cook a meal at home, kids can imagine they are the chef with the Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot from LeapFrog. Featuring snap-apart veggies, a play knife and cutting board, kids can chop the food, set the temperature dial, add veggies to the pot and watch the pot “boil.” Have kids take your order, follow five step-by-step recipes to make spaghetti sauce, rainbow soup, corn on the cob, carrot soup and broccoli with cheese, then serve up their creations in the bowl.
2. Sock Puppets: Crafting sock puppets or paper bag puppets and playing with them is a great way to give kids the opportunity to showcase their artistic side, as well as act out stories and adventures. Use googly eyes and yarn to make the puppets. Then build a “theater” by hanging a blanket between chairs and put on your very own puppet show!
3. Say Cheese: Inspiring creativity and learning, the Fun-2-3 Instant Camera is a pretend camera featuring picture-taking activities and pop-up animal pictures. Kids can strengthen motor skills and imagine they are a professional photographer by turning the zoom lens and clicking the shutter button, as well as by pushing down the photo cards, which feature animals, shapes, colors, fun facts and numbers. A viewfinder color wheel lets kids see the world in yellow, blue or green, and a lens features day and night modes, making visual imaginative play a snap.
4. Backyard Adventure: With a little imagination, a nearby park or even your own backyard can be the perfect setting to play “explorers.” Count all the types of plants, bugs and animals you spy on your adventure. Collect interesting leaves and rocks. Then, talk about what you observe and discover.
5. Go Shopping: Kids can play “store” and take turns pretending to be the customer and clerk with the Count-Along Basket & Scanner. Featuring play food, shopping lists and an interactive scanner that recognizes each food piece, kids can carry the shopping basket or expand it into a rolling shopping cart. There are eight play foods in a variety of food groups, colors, shapes and numbers. The fish, carrots, strawberries, cake, bread, broccoli and grapes show off their silly personalities with music and unique phrases when scanned. Three interactive play modes reinforce learning, as kids can scan a food to find out its name, color and the number printed on it, as well as the foods’ shapes.
With fun learning toys and a bit of ingenuity, role-playing games can help expand your child’s world.