Six Pretend Activities for Kids
Puppet Show. Have a puppet show. For puppets you can use stuffed animals, dolls, hand puppets, marionettes, and even old socks that you have drawn faces on. The show can be inside or outside. A stage can be a chair, table, box, etc. Make up the story and name the show. If you can safely perform it for the family or neighbors, be as fancy as you like – with tickets, refreshments, etc. Otherwise, you can film it on your phone and send it over the phone or internet.
Build a Special Place. Build a tent or fort. It can be in or out of the house. You can use a real tent or blankets, tablecloths, and furniture. Let your child decide what the tent or fort is all about – a secret “mom and me” club, hiding out from monsters, a lab for making a power potion, etc. Once the fort is done, play pretend together. Let your child know when you start playing pretend and announce when you are done pretending. This announcement is important for helping them learn what is pretend and what is real.
Silly Food. Make up a silly, nonsense food like Worm Pudding, Goop Balls, or Sticky Icky Buns. You or your child will pretend to be the main ingredient of the silly food you have made up. Figure out what else you’ll need to add to the main ingredient for your silly food. What can you use to represent those things? For example, confetti for sugar; raisins for ants, blanket for gravy, etc. Make or collect the things that will represent the ingredients you will need. Be sure to name your silly food and to let your child know how creative he is. After you have all the drawing, cutting, coloring, sculpting, and collecting done, plan a day to use all your “ingredients” to play a Silly Food game (See below.).
Silly Food Game. Turn “silly food” into a game.
You and your child will take turns being the main ingredient of the silly food you have made up. The other person will be the “cook.”
The “cook” will gather all the ingredients that you and your child made for your silly food.
The “cook” will assemble all the ingredients by chopping, stirring, kneading, tossing, and patting the “food.” (This means you will knead, stir, and pat your child as though he is a food – and he will do the same to you.)
The “cook” will cook the “food” – in a stove, skillet, grill, etc. (under a chair for a stove, in a box for a skillet, etc.)
The “cook” will serve the silly “food” – on a plate with gravy, in a sandwich, on a stick, etc.
Switch roles as “food” and as “cook” and try the game again.
Make-Believe Art. Do an art project with your child that is about adding something to his dress-up stuff. It could be making hats to go with clothes he has. It could be making “extras” like magic wands, tools, etc. It could be whole costumes made out of craft paper or newspaper. It could be props like ovens, hideouts, or walls made from cardboard boxes or blocks. Be sure to play together to try them out once they are made.
Video Pretending. Today, video your child when he is pretending.You can use your phone, iPad, or video camera. Show him your film.
Tell him specific things that you like in the film – the way he created his costume, the smile on his face, the way he acted out his part.
If you have a video of yourself pretending as a child, show it too. Talk about anything you remember about what it was like to pretend.