My kids love to dress up and play pretend. Our toy box is stuffed with lots of odds and ends that help spur their imagination and takes their pretend play to a whole new level. Sure we have baby dolls, magic wands, superhero capes & more princess crowns than I can count but sometimes the kids need a little encouraging to try something new with their play. Prop boxes are the easiest way I can think of to help them change out their play. We have gone ice fishing off an ice burg (the side of our sofa), hopped over hot lava (the couch cushions are remarkably flame retardant) and entertained kings and queens with singing and dancing. I’ve created and rotating our pretend play boxes for years now and have seen lots of dramatic play in our house even when the boxes aren’t being used. During the first few times we open a new box, I spend time playing with the kids demonstrating how one would play with the items. After awhile, they get the idea and then play just takes off from their own imagination.
If you are new to using a prop box here are some tips to help you along the way:
*Choose a theme you know your kids will find interesting, and begin collecting materials associated with that theme. Your attic, basement or closest are great places to find props. Thrift stores and garage sales are equally wonderful. Put the materials in a labeled box and add items to it as you stumble across them. Include clothing because clothes help children “step into a role.”
*Including props that both boys and girls will find appealing also is important.
*Choose real items that can be used safely, and not “toys.” For example, children can do and learn so much more with a real, but broken, telephone than with a toy telephone. Include literacy materials in every prop box, so children can pretend to read and write, even if they’re not yet able to really do so, and can associate literacy/numeracy activities with meaningful contexts.
*Ask the kids what they think should be included. You don’t have to do everything yourself! If they’ve visited a greenhouse, they’ll know lots of items to include.
Today we are sharing what we included in our gardening prop box:
How do you play with your kids?
Are you looking for some craft ideas to go along with your Garden Prop Box? Check out these: http://www.adventureswithfour.com/flower-craft-ideas/