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12 Activity Ideas to Promote Imaginary Play

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Publish date: 2019-02-18

Imagination should be stimulated in the classroom, wherever possible. Here are some activities designed to promote and develop fantasy play.


  1. The Cardboard Box

Help the learners transform and develop into creative thinkers and problem-solvers, by allowing them to think outside of the box. Learners do not need expensive toys to have fun. One of the most beloved and favourite playthings is an ordinary cardboard box. Will it transform into a rocket ship? A sailing boat? A submarine? A dog kennel? A jail cell? A princess’ tower? The possibilities are endless.


  1. Movie Directors

Make use of random photos of child-friendly action scenes. Learners can sequence them to make a ‘movie’ in their minds. Digging in the prop box can help the learners create their very own action movie. Creating their own dialogue, along with the action, can take the fantasy play to another level.


  1. Playing dress-up

A box of simple accessories, such as hats, tiaras, fairy wings, dresses, shoes, etc. can help them become anyone from their imagination. A princess having a tea party? A pirate stealing the teapot?


  1. Fortress of fun

Most learners love the idea of building a fort. A blanket/sheet/ old duvet and some chairs are all that is needed. Are the learners guarding the castle? Camping in the forest? Hiding from enemy spies?


  1. Cooking in the kitchen

Play kitchens are usually an instant hit and can be transformed into mom’s kitchen, a bakery, or a restaurant.


  1. Stuffed animals

Learners are likely to reflect their own experiences with their stuffed animal friends during fantasy play. These toys can  also play the role of an effective substitute.


  1. Indoor Olympics

Get a bit of exercise into the imaginative playtime by holding an indoor Olympics tournament. You can line up cars to make lanes for racing. Time the races. Make an obstacle course. Stuffed toys can be used for the crowd of spectators.


  1. Puppet Play

Learners create their own story, script and characters, using finger puppets. The scenery and the actual puppets can be made by the learners as well. This is great to combine with an art lesson. Songs and musical accompaniments can be included.

Puppets can be a powerful way of giving a voice to the learners’ ideas and concerns. Puppets give the learners an opportunity to explore different role play. Some learners do not automatically know how to interact with puppets. It can be a foreign concept to them and you might need to encourage them. Make a point of using puppets during circle time and other class activities. In this way, the learners can become more accustomed to the concept.


  1. Documentation Board

With parental consent, take candid photos of learners engaged in fantasy play, e.g. dressing up, building a fort, interacting with puppets. Design a poster explaining ways in which imaginary play facilitates child development. Display the board in a high traffic area for everyone to see and reflect.


  1. Sandbox Play

The sandbox is a resource for imaginary play.  Scooping, sifting, and pouring are sandbox skills that enhance sensory play. Imaginative play and sensory play are closely intertwined. Unlike plastic play food, sand and water can become anything the learner imagines. They could be baking pies or making magic potions.

 Try adding figures and other props to add another dimension to the fantasy play. Think construction vehicles, plastic animals, watering cans, and natural materials like leaves, twigs, pebbles.


  1. Block Play

The possibilities with blocks are endless. Just dumping out all the blocks in front of the learner might be all what is needed for the imagination to flow. Learners may build towers, car garages, or animal pens.

Many themes learnt in the curriculum can be incorporated into playing with blocks. Learning about space can result in rockets being built to launch to the moon. Learners can build the different letters of the alphabet when learning about sounds. Social skills can also be developed as the learners are exposed to the concepts of sharing and building on another peer’s ideas.


  1. Planting a garden

Make use of a patch in the playground where learners can plant their own imaginary gardens. Props such as watering cans, rakes and spades can be used to promote this activity. Natural materials, such as pebbles and twigs, can help learners to create pretty borders and pathways in and around the garden.

This activity can be integrated with various themes being learnt in the classroom, e.g. learning about seeds/ water/ soil/ insects, etc. Extend the activity by introducing the concept of a fairy garden where fairy houses and wind chimes can be added into the garden. This can also be linked to the classroom curriculum by reading stories, writing sentences and singing songs about fairies and other facets of the garden.

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