Are your children fascinated with Animals? Mine are.
Its a great idea to follow a child's lead and provide them with enriching play areas based on their interests. If they're interested in something they pay more attention, enjoy themselves more and this means that they learn more.
Both Dimples & Miss Cherub love animals so I set up this little Pretend play barn yard.
If you missed it, I have this post that goes through WHY Pretend Play is so important in early childhood and the benefits of it.
I still strongly advocate the benefits of pretend play so following the interests of both Dimples and Miss Cherub I set up this Farm barn play area on a low lying coffee table that they both could access freely and explore easily. I aimed to use materials that resembles a real life farm yard in order to capture their imagination and attention for longer more enjoyable pretend play. I think it worked! They love it.
I added some artificial grass covering the play table to give it a realistic look and feel. This enhances the imaginary play experience and makes the play area more inviting. I then added a pebble patterned mat (it was a small shower mat), a blue foam cut out in the shape of a pond and a fake silk plant to really give the Grassy Farm area a realistic feel.
The farm area is complete with a little plastic barn and of course a variety of plastic farm animals. Both Dimples and Miss Cherub have enjoyed the area and engaged in pretend play together and alone at different levels of play. Dimples, nearly 5 has a vivid imagination and pretends it a real working farm, the dog does the herding, the sheep need to be sheared and the cows eat grass, the rooster crows at the crack of dawn, the tractor maintains the pastor, the pig rolls on the edge of the pond and so on. He labels the animals and is learning the different names based on the animals gender eg. a sow, a boar & a piglet. In the book shelf next to it I have some farm yard board books for him to expand on.
Where as Miss Cherub (nearly 1) explores the texture of the grass with her finger tips (and sometimes her mouth) and the feel of the foam pond, she is following Dimples through imitation and makes Moo sounds, "roff roff" barking sounds and she gets the horses to trott up and down clicking her tongue and jiggling around as if she is riding a horse. Its so cute to watch her learning through observing the way big brother plays. This also gives me an opportunity to introduce new vocabulary to her by labeling the animals for her.
Pretend Play & Developing imaginary play scenes
Turn taking and sharing,
Learning animal names, sounds, diet and place in the farm.
Exploring real life concepts
Other ways to create a play space to enhance imaginative play
A fun Science Lab conducting real experiments
Magical Gnome Garden
Banking & Sorting: using real money & a trip to the bank
Sensory Play: Ice cream dough
Have you used any materials in a play area to immitate real life?