Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Let's Pretend...

My kids are little techno whizzes. They can navigate and effectively use all of our gadgets, flipping through apps and utilizing them to their fullest. I'm glad they can as technological skills are going to be very important in the world they grow up in. Along with that though I believe that it is crucial that they be able to initiate and engage in imaginative play and role play scenarios. It fosters so much creativity and builds a greater understanding of the world around them.

I love playing house, restaurant, grocery store, etc. It beats driving trains round and round the track for hours at a time any day of the week! I also must admit that creating the props for these playtime is at least half the fun for me. I once spent days at my grandparents cutting out and colouring (with smelly markers) cardboard food to stock their playhouse with. I loved making the food as much (if not more) than playing with the food.

I recently stumbled across the blog No Time For Flash Cards and went into a bit of a pinning frenzy over the great imaginative play ideas that she had. I strongly encourage you to check them out!

Because we just booked a trip to Vegas I've been talking to my son about going on an airplane again and what it would be like. One of her ideas was to play airport/airplane and I jumped all over it.

I started by grabbing cereal boxes from the recycling to use in making the passports and boarding passes. I stapled paper inside the passport and cartooned pictures of them and wrote out their name, age and eye colour on the first page. I'm using this for name recognition and to assist in coaching them on how to answer questions like "What is your name?" and "How old are you?"


I put blanks on the boarding pass so we could pencil in different departure and destination locations. I also made a plane seating chart to mimic purchasing seat assignments and to encourage number and letter recognition. 



When they come through the gate I tell them which seat they are in and they have to go into the "plane" and find the matching seat number.


We go through the entire process of picking their destination and then going to the gate to check in. They wheel their little luggage up and present me with their passport and boarding pass. I love their little serious faces as they verify their names and ages. He even calls me "Ma'am". So cute. 


Once they board the plane they stow their luggage and then I go through the in flight safety and have them buckle seat belts. Throughout the flight I switch from pilot to flight attendant and offer them gummy bug snacks and 2 minutes of entertainment (Bubble Guppies).


At the end of the flight they deplane, haul their luggage across the room and head back to choose another flight destination. So far their favourite is "ABC" which he confuses with BC (British Columbia) where Kayden and Judah live. We fly there a lot.


It's been cool to see how much they learn and internalize through playing. Today Kai decided to be the Flight Attendant and was able to give all the instructions about stowing luggage, seat belts and chatter about the weather and flight conditions. Even little Hanny got up and told us "K everybody... gibberish... seat belts... gibberish... everybody.... O.K."

When we're done it all goes into a ziploc and awaits our next aviation adventure!


Here's another little random addition...

Our friend Hunter also loves to play pretend. He has a fabulous imagination. We were babysitting him one morning when we all decided to play Birthday Party. I had lots of left over supplies from the super hero brunch so after we played I put together a little pretend play kit for him to take home.

Hunter loved our Melissa and Doug Birthday cake and so I took an old cookie tin and attempted to make a birthday cake out of it. I roughly measured out felt and then hot glued it to the tin. For the top I covered the lid with felt and then traced another circle of felt and cut it into 4 pieces and added decorations. Because the felt will cling to each other the 4 slices attach to the top and you can remove them to serve people individual pieces.











I also gathered a few gift bags that the kids used to shop from their toys to buy a present for the pretend birthday boy and stuffed in balloons, birthday cards and party favours.


The kids had a blast playing musical chairs, singing happy birthday, serving the cake and opening presents! It's such an easy kit to have on hand.



That's what we've been up to lately. What pretend scenarios do you play most often with your kids?