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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tutorial Tuesday: Pretend Play

Pretend play is such an essential part of childhood. My 2.5 year old has a grand imagination and loves pretending. Aiden enjoys making caves from blankets. Any time things go over his head (power lines, trees, bridges, etc), he sees them as tunnels waiting to be explored. Lately, he has been playing under the dining room table saying it is a tunnel. I decided to set up a little invitation for pretend play. How to Set Up a Pretend Play Invitation 
 Our table has drop sides that make for a natural tunnel. I hung a blanket to the front and back creating a cave. 
  cave entrance
Inside the cave, I placed several of his stuffed animals.  
 The animals were going to have a party in the cave, and they needed some supplies. I added some foam letters to a toy pan for some alphabet soup. I placed the soup on some torn pieces of orange paper that represented fire. alphabet soup 
 To a bowl of cheerios, I added some magnet letters and a spoon. The letters on top spell Aiden's name. alphabet cereal 
 A stack of plates and a few plastic discs completed the setup.  
 When Aiden awoke from his nap, he saw the blankets covering the table. Curious, he looked at me. I told him he could go in the cave and see what was there. He crawled in and saw the party that awaited. He made some noises of excitement and began to play. "I'm going to eat some cheerios," he said. "My animals want some, too." He passed out the plates and gave them each some cheerios. He pulled the letters out of the cheerios and named them each. "A - I - D - E - N that spells Aiden!" He gave the animals magnet letters and foam letters to eat along with their cheerios. Not only was he practicing letter recognition, he was also working on fine motor skills by serving the animals. As he talked to the animals during his pretend play, he was working on language skills. Pretend play is a wonderful venue for practicing a number of different skills. It's all up to your imagination. Thanks for letting me share our fun with you! Would you like to see more ideas for toddlers/preschoolers from me? Here are a few of my favorites. What Can you Learn from a Cardboard Tube? 20 Ideas for Practicing Measuring Outdoor Sound Hunt Inspired by Mr. Brown Can Moo. Can You?
 
Trisha is a stay at home mom to her 2-year old son, Aiden. She writes about their adventures at Inspiration Laboratories, a blog dedicated to encouraging learning through creativity and play. Trisha is an educator with a passion for science literacy. It is never too early to start encouraging science learning (or any kind of learning for that matter). Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.