A huge thank you to our Head of Early Years, Sarah Read for bringing this guide together. You can find Sarah in our Head Office in London, helping to develop new research and ideas to bring better outcomes for children in the early years.

The twelfth day brings us my personal favourite (edit, that’s my favourite, Liz!) IMAGINATIVE PLAY!

Anywhere, anytime, imagine what you could be!

Imaginative play is a way to describe children’s make-believe play which we see children frequently engaging in during their early years. As adults we can support children in this type of play by joining in with their play and stories and encouraging their imagination to run WILD!

Remember when you take part, you are following your child’s lead and their imagination rather than trying to take the play in a direction you think it should go. Ask open ended questions (questions that need more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer) to extend children’s thinking.

An example of this might be, ‘I wonder what would happen if …’ You can also find props and resources that support this type of play. You can get lots of predesigned dress up clothes in the shops, which are great, but actually it can be much more fun for children to experiment with scarves, pieces of fabric and props to create their characters.

Collect old handbags, boots, shows, hats, clothes, props and blankets, scarves and items from around the house help to give children opportunities to use their imaginations in this type of play.

Benefits of imaginative play (for both children AND adults!) include:

  • Fostering imagination and creativity in children and helps them to express their own personality
  • It helps children to make sense of the world around them by experimenting in a safe environment
  • Supports the development of communication and language skills in children.

Whatever you do and however you do it – have the most amazing amount of fun – and tell us about it! We have HUNDREDs of opportunities for babies and children to get involved with imaginative play in the nurseries, we encourage learning through questions and observations, gently giving children more ideas to extend their thinking and experiences.

Find your nearest Spring setting and come and visit us, meet the team and see the nursery to understand the breadth of opportunity for your babies and children in their early years. We know you won’t be disappointed!