Fostering Creative Play

“If you constantly entertain your child, you will be giving her the false impression that the world exists for her own pleasure and that she is without resources of her own. This is bound to cause difficulties later. Furthermore, boredom is a wonderful impetus to creativity and resourcefulness. If a child is always provided with activities and play ideas she will not have a chance to be attuned to her own fantasy life, to play out her own inner world. This is a great loss, which will have later implications for her ability to think creatively and independently.”
-From the book In A Nutshell: Dialogues With Parents At Acorn Hill, page 63.

Play is the work of a small child.

Ways to Foster Creative Play

  • less toys!
  • think about how to arrange the toys you do have to make them inviting for play – scenarios, grouping similar toys in a basket, making sure every toy has a home
  • arrange little scenes for your child to play with
  • have areas of play in your home – a kitchen area, a workbench, a doll corner, an area for painting, coloring and crafts
  • have dress up clothes available
  • have baskets of natural objects available – rocks, shells, pinecones, walnuts, chestnuts
  • try making several stand up dolls (no arms or legs). You can find instructions in Toymaking With Children and The Children’s Year.  Have dolls and doll accessories – a soft cloth doll with limited facial features is lovely.  
  • Have knitted or felt animals available, preferably ones you make yourself
  • Think about outside play – sandbox, swing, slide, climbing dome, balancing board, hills, secret spots in the yard
  • Most of all, engage in meaningful activity the child can imitate.  If you are busy with things around your house in a purposeful way – baking, gardening, cleaning carefully, washing and ironing these are the things your child will demonstrate in play.

7 thoughts on “Fostering Creative Play

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