We have been busy building J’s play skills lately to help him with pretend play. J has a very ‘real life’ attitude to pretend play and the concept of pretending is still in practice (e.g. The day he gave me a cup and I asked ‘ohhh what is it?’ Expecting milk/water/juice to be the reply…Instead I got ‘cup’ and I confused look as if I was mad).
With the help of his cousin and the play kitchen (it’s great when you have older children to role model) we have started to get the idea of putting play food on plate and telling people to eat…he’s a very demanding waiter! He even says “want?” Which is his way of mimicking when his cousin was asking us ‘what would you like to eat?’ so play is extending.
To bring in more sequences of play I set up a shopping game today. We used an Early Learning Centre game that we borrowed (always ask about local toy libraries as they are invaluable and FREE). I laid out the food and the shopping lists (only choosing 2/4 of the shopping lists and matching food so it wasn’t overwhelming), shopping trolley and play till.
I asked J to show me what he wanted to buy from his list. At first he would point and then go to take it. I encouraged him to tell me what he needed and would model new words to him.
Then once he found the item he wanted (good memory and visual skills) he would tell me how much it cost. J recognises numerals 1-10 so he would tell me the numbers separately e.g.: 25p would be “2…5”. I would hold my hand out for (pretend) money and would put in his play till. I then encouraged J to put the shopping in the trolley.
J played on and off. He would go and do a spin or play with a car and then return for more shopping. I didn’t push it as I know sometimes he just needs to do a bit of movement and prepare himself for ‘more’.
So today J built up his vocabulary and was learning to put sequences into his play. This really helps with both real life skills as it makes shopping trips more predictable for him, and helps boost his imaginative play which will open the world more for him.
What games or activities do you play at home to help build play skills and imagination? Are they any games you recommend I look out for?
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