- 3 mins
Cooperative vs. Competitive Play – Why They’re Both Important
Creativity and imagination are fundamental parts of early childhood development. Creativity can help children develop a wide range of skills and boost social interactions and emotional development, while imagination can help foster creative, physical, and cognitive development. Through engaging in imaginative and creative play, children learn about the world around them and see things from many different perspectives. Below is a list of fun games for kids that you can do with your child at any age!
This is a time of open-ended exploration of materials and their properties. You can step back and let the child lead the experience of exploring different materials through their senses. Some items will be readily available in your home, while others can be easily obtained. Here are some examples of items that are perfect for this type of activity with your child.
Provide your child with opportunities throughout the day to listen to music, make music, and sing songs. Music can be a powerful tool for fostering better emotional understanding, including times when your child might be feeling energized or relaxed. A fun idea is to make homemade instruments for your child to explore, out of a shoe box and string (guitar), a paper towel roll (flute), or a kitchen pot (drum).
Retelling your own childhood stories and acting out stories with your child with puppets or stuffed animals are great ways to stimulate your child’s imagination and creativity.
Pretend play allows children to experiment with a variety of different roles. In pretend play, children may use one object to stand for another—for example, pretending a spoon is a telephone, or a bowl is a drum.
Telling your child stories and reading them books are excellent ways to help them develop their own storytelling imagination. Try encouraging your child to come up with new endings to stories, or to tell you what might happen next when reading a new story.
Help your child build cubby houses with cardboard boxes or drape a blanket over some chairs or a table. Encourage them to bring their animals and toys into the space to play with. You could bring in flashlights and pretend it is a sleep-over!
There are so many activities outdoors that will stimulate your child’s imagination. For example, you can create a nature scavenger hunt with your child by helping them to locate various aspects of nature and check them off of a list.
Coloring pages for kids provide endless possibilities for exploring coloring. You can use preprinted coloring pages or books, or print out an image of your child’s favorite TV character, Moshi moshling, or animal. Then lay out the crayons, markers, and colored pencils. You might also sit next to your child and color a picture as well in order to model the skill.
Put on your apron and get out the spatula. Baking is a fun activity that children can participate in after a school day or on the weekend. Working together, bake your child’s favorite cake, muffins, or cookies, and then allow your child to decorate, encouraging them to express their creativity and ideas.
There are many ways that caregivers can help children develop creativity and imagination through play. It is important that adults model for children how to engage and have fun with kids games and activities. Modeling refers to showing children how to do something and then allowing them time to practice. For example, if your child is learning how to tell stories and you and your child are building things together with plastic bricks, you could model by telling a story about a character and setting related to what you are building. Then, invite your child to tell a story about what they are building. You may need to provide your child with some support throughout this by suggesting an idea or asking questions about details that are needed.
Allowing your child to choose which activity they would like to do is important as it encourages their autonomy. All children love to be in control of the situation and this is especially important for building confidence and independence. Create opportunities throughout the day where your child can choose an activity from among two or three options that are appropriate for the time of day. The process of choosing in itself can be a creative activity for your child!