Play provides a wonderful opportunity for children to express themselves in a variety of ways. All children are different and you may find they gravitate to certain activities. Your child may prefer to role play alone with figurines, act out dramatic role-plays for the family or create masterpieces for the fridge. 


Encouraging imagination and creative thinking in children is a great way to give them a head start in life. It assists them to explore and test new ideas, practice problem solving and take risks. Creative play is also a great way to help young children express themselves. They may not be able to tell you how they feel but can express them through their actions in play, particularly when there are little constraints around the activity.

There are many ways you can help build creativity and imaginative play at home. You can do this by encouraging them to share what they are thinking, asking thoughtful questions and connecting with your own inner child. Being playful yourself and engaging with your child will encourage them to do the same while creating valuable memories together.  Below you will find some wonderful activities for families to enjoy together promoting creativity and imagination.

Play with Imagination

Kids love pretend play! Role-playing activities can an endless source of entertainment. Set up a pretend pizza shop, bakery, ice cream parlour or grocery store. Perhaps create a cardboard car and hold a drive-in movie screening. On a rainy day, blanket forts can become a castle or the living room might make a great camping ground.
Here are some other fun activities promoting imagination.
  • Make shadow puppets and create unique stories
  • Go cloud watching, what do they look like? Animals, objects or people? Make up stories about what you see.
  • Tell felt board stories. Felt is sensory and comes in many colours. Purchase a readymade story kit or create one yourself.

Play with Craft

Art and craft is a wonderful way to promote self-expression while boosting school readiness. The wonderful thing about arts and crafts is that activities can be designed to focus on learning objectives like letter recognition, developing fine motor skills and most other topics that we touch on in the Play ‘n Learn series.
Creative activities on a budget
  • Raid the recycle bin and make sculptures out of milk bottles and egg cartons.
  • Make collages out of old newspapers, greetings cards or magazines
  • Create a music shaker out of a cardboard tube, rice and some tape.
  • Drawing! Try tracing your hands, the shadows of favourite figurines or attempting self-portraits.
  • Play postman and make a mailbox out of a shoebox and fold up some envelopes. Attach it to your child’s bedroom door and mail letters to each other.
  • DIY paint! Salt, flour, food colouring and water makes a great DIY paint.
Activities to develop fine motor skills
  • Go on a magazine hunt, search for and cut out and sort different shapes then use them to make a picture. This is also a great Play n’ Count  activity!
  • Cut up lots of small pieces of paper. Use them to make a collage or glue them over the lines of their name to practice both scissor skills and name recognition.
  • Origami and paper planes, folding paper helps develops fine motor skills and introduces kids to processes.
  • Thread beads or pasta on to ribbon, string or pipe cleaners.
Kid’s colouring outside the lines? Every child develops skills at different times, if you are concerned about this speak to your child health nurse.

Play with Movement

Movement not only promotes health and wellbeing it is a fun way to burn off energy. By slowing moments and playing soft music it can also be used to calm kids.
Try some of these at home
  • Play your favourite music and have a dance party with family and friends! Make up a new, silly dance move to teach to everyone.
  • Create crazy jumps, spins and tumbles.
  • Animal races! Pretend to be a frog, kangaroo or crab.
  • Playing games like musical statues
  • Kids Yoga is a great way to get kids practicing mindfulness. It helps develop gross motor skills such as balancing and coordination all while pretending to be animals
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