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Parent Helpers

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Let's Pretend

Harness the power of your child's imagination with these tips for interactive imaginative play.

  1. Join in

    Let your child take the lead in fantasy games. You'll notice that everyday activities-eating a meal, riding the bus, going to school-become the starting point for imaginative play. Don't feel obligated to "correct" your child about the details; just enjoy the journey.

  2. Provide props

    Your house is full of props for imaginative play. An old saucepan can be a musical instrument, a paper towel roll makes a good microphone, and a big cardboard box can be almost anything.

  3. Dress up

    Don't toss out that old beach towel. Put it in a special trunk for future use as a magic cape or special turban. Together you and your child can make fireman uniforms or princess outfits with old clothes and art supplies you already have around the house.

  4. Put on a show

    Older children often enjoy planning and putting on performances. They may expend more energy making tickets and collecting props than on the show itself-but remember to clap anyway!!

  5. Accept the mess

    Let's pretend can be a messy game. Before you punish your child for leaving pretend food all over the pretend kitchen, take a deep breath and remember he's learning valuable skills. (Of course, it's okay to set limits-no eating the pretend food, for example-for everyone's safety).

  6. Be a kid watcher

    Observe your child at play. It will help you learn more about their world. If, for example, her dollies are afraid to use the potty because they might fall in, you may learn why your own child is reluctant to give up diapers.

  7. Enjoy

    Toddlers, preschoolers, and other young children are zany creatures. Treasure ever minute of your shared journey into the world of make believe. You'll all reap the rewards later in life.

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