My four-year old daughter takes out her crayons, pencils, papers and does what she has been doing for weeks now. She writes and colors and sings all the time. Before she goes to sleep, probably already half asleep, she mumbles and sings.
My husband and I know what happens in school because she imitates her teacher and her classmates. So we know what Matthew did, or who cried today or what her teacher told her classmate. Her stories are just amusing. It cracks me up most days.
Today, while I was reading something, I hear her saying or singing something. She was actually singing their circle time songs and was pretending to be in school. She was coloring and writing so I let her do her thing.
After about 15 minutes or so I noticed she was silent so I checked and found her on the stairs with some papers. I told her to clean up because the papers were all over the floor and on the stairs. Her response puts a smile on my face: “Mommy, I don’t wanna clean up yet. I still want to be a teacher.”
Today she is a teacher. Yesterday she was a mommy and her children were her crayons. Last Friday (from morning til his daddy got home from work) she was a waitress. She was holding a small notebook and a pencil and was taking orders. “What’s your order, Sir?” My husband joins in and orders “May I have some sandwich and a bottled water”. She goes, “No sandwich Sir, just water.” Some kind of restaurant she has 🙂
Other days I hear her saying “this is my bedroom”, referring to my laptop bag. I saw her put her tiny puppy toys in there. I think she was pretending to be a mommy and was putting her babies to sleep. I always listen to her when she is engaged in imaginary play. She does an amazing job of improvising things and imitating people, including me, my husband and her teacher!
As a teacher, I know how important pretend play is. As a parent, I am doing my best to provide her with opportunities and materials where she can engage in imaginary play. There are plenty of articles on the web that discusses the benefits of pretend play.
Here are a few suggestions that you can do to spark your child’s imagination:
- provide coloring pens and other writing materials and place them in your child’s bedroom or near the telephone
- empty boxes or crates which your child can use as a house
- old shoes, hats, old clothes
- cooking utensils
Lastly, don’t let them stop and clean up right away (just like what I did). You just might have stopped a teacher singing in the middle of Circle Time, or a mommy putting her babies to sleep, or a Police Officer directing traffic 🙂