Children love books and movies with kings, queens, knights and fairies. They can hear their favorite story or watch a special movie over and over again.
Why not encourage them to use their imaginations to play dress-up as their heroes and heroines and engage in other pretend play activities?
The most common age for this kind of play is three to five, but even older children love fantasy and will enjoy this kind of playtime.
It is very inexpensive to start a collection of dress-up items for your children. Start with your own closets and then move on to the following places to seek treasures for your children to play make believe.
Thrift stores. Thrift stores are a good place to find wonderful items such as long skirts that are full and flouncy. The ideal ones will spread out in a circle when your little princess twirls and spins. Other good finds at thrift stores are scarves and hats.
The best choices in any used clothing items are those that can be laundered. A real treasure you can sometimes find in a thrift store is a prom or evening gown. A scarf tied around your daughter’s waist will quickly adjust the waist and length size.
At the right time of the year, you can even find used Halloween costumes! These are great for your little boys who want to be a ninja or toy story hero! Don’t forget to look for shoes!
Sparkly evening shoes, cowboy boots and work boots are all interesting. (Make sure to spray the insides with disinfectant spray before the children put their feet inside.)
Dollar stores. A good place to frequent is the low cost dollar stores. You can find hair bows and ribbons, sunglasses, sun visors and seasonal hats! You can also pick up things like play money for playing store, and stickers, crayons and markers and blank note pads for playing school.
Neighborhood garage sales. Similar items can be found at garage sales as in thrift stores but sometimes you will come across things that are a real surprise. Be alert for older toys such as fireman’s hats, star wars helmets, cowboy hats and sheriff stars.
You may even come across a used karaoke machine for home theater productions. And don’t forget to look for costume jewelry!
Prepare a special area for fantasy time. Find a corner where the children can hang a blanket or sheet to make a curtain for impromptu stage productions.
A karaoke machine or any source of music can provide background music for songs and dances. Don’t forget to make family members available for special productions. Grandma and Grandpa would love to attend!
Provide a blackboard and a small table and chairs for playing school. Older children love to get involved if they can be the teacher to the younger ones and you will be surprised how much they can teach the little ones.
Make sure to have a book corner for those older siblings to read to the younger ones! (They like to mimic teacher’s story time.)
Let them pull items out of the cupboards and set up a pretend store using the play money. This is a great opportunity to teach counting money and making change, and of course dress up to go shopping!
Your children will improvise in ways that will surprise you and use their imaginations to play and play and play. Isn’t that what childhood is really all about?