How to Encourage Imagination in Outdoor Play
Outdoor play on its own is great for child development. It creates curiosity about the natural world, encourages children to play with all their senses, lets kids appreciate the environment and can encourage physical exercise. When combined with imagination play, however, outdoor play becomes even better for child development.
Imaginative outdoor play encourages kids to think for themselves and to be creative. It can stimulate the mind and make playtime even more enjoyable. Imaginative play doesn’t have to be complex and expensive, either. Here are a few ways you can bring the power of imagination to your children’s outdoor playtime:
Miniature homes and scenes
Your children can build special, tiny homes from acorns, moss, plants, stones and other materials they find in nature. This pushes them to think beyond their immediate surroundings and helps them think about the natural world around them.
Outdoor plays and characters
Have your child come up with ideas for scenarios and characters and then help them put on an outdoor play. A few costumes and props are all you need to help children transform themselves into pirates, royalty, detectives and more.
Open-ended toys rely heavily on your children’s imagination. Chalk can be used to set up hopscotch, but can also be used to create complex art. Use a shovel to create castles in sand or bury hidden treasure and create a map and clues for your children to find it.
Transform your playset
A playset offers lots of opportunity for active play and for imagination. A playset with panels can become a store, a castle, a fort, a ship or anything else your child imagines. The multiple levels of play mean more opportunities for imagination.
Praise creativity and find ways to capture it
Taking photos of your child’s sandcastle or encouraging your child to create an illustrated picture book about their adventures on a playset-turned-fortress keeps creative juices flowing and lets children explore imaginative ideas in depth. Having something tangible, like a photo, left over from imaginative play reminds children how much fun it is and can help them embrace this creative play next time.
If you’d like to set up playsets or play areas where imagination and active play can intersect, take a look at the options available through Superior Play Systems®. Our safe and carefully crafted solutions can help you provide your child with terrific, quality play options.