Make-Believe Play Ideas

princess castle

The Joys of Make-Believe

We all remember playing make-believe as children. Whether it was talking to fairies, building princess castles, fighting monsters or jumping over pools of burning lava.

Children spend a lot of time pretending to be something or someone they are not and while we could easily write this off as silly child’s play it is actually a vital part of their development.

Using their imaginations children are laying the foundations they need to develop language, reading, problem-solving, empathy, and the ability to create and invent new things.

There is also a huge amount of joy to be had from building a fort with your children and pretending to be camping out in the wilderness or exploring the woods in search of unicorns and dragons.

The problem is that sometimes our children seem to struggle with imaginary play, they would rather opt for the effortless entertainment provided by a tablet or tv screen, and as adults, it can be hard to transport ourselves away from the mundane chores of the everyday world to a land of make-believe.

Some Make-Believe or Pretend Play Ideas to Enjoy with your Children

Playing make-believe is all about allowing children to use their imaginations but you may need to help them out with props and ideas that can serve as a launching pad to a whole new world.

  • Play at being superheroes. A cape and a mask are easy to make and toilet roll tubes make great arm cuffs that can become transporters or telecommunicators.
  • Set up a veterinary surgery with cuddly pets to treat. This is a great way of using doctors set in a different way. Or you can just cut a few strips of material and have a go at making your own stethoscope.
  • Turn your laundry basket or a big cardboard box into a sailing boat. This could be a fisherman’s boat, a pirate ship, a Viking warship or a sailboat for setting sail to discover new lands.
  • Set up pretend play for acting out real-life scenarios like going to the shops, a cafe, an ice cream shop or the library. This might not seem like much fun to you but kids love it. They’ll delight in bringing you your order or charging you for your groceries.
  • Build a den. With a den, the possibilities are endless, use blankets and furniture to create secret cosy places you can retreat to and see what they become. You can even have an indoor campout and sleep in your den if you make it snuggly enough.
  • Let them be the star of their own TV show. Cutting a hole in a cardboard box makes an excellent TV or Theatre and kids love to be the star of the show. You’ll probably have to take a turn to though so make sure you’re ready to read the news or act out their favourite cartoon.

Next Up: The Best Medieval and Princess Castles for Kids