Imaginative Play Ideas for Young Children at Home!

By Helen Davey, Executive Principal, Helen O'Grady Drama Academy 07 Apr 2020


During social isolation, it seems that our children will be doing a lot of “screen-time learning”.  Society is already geared towards communicating via a screen – with TV, emails, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and so on. Many educators and parents are concerned that our children are no longer learning how to engage in face to face conversations and most importantly, not developing social interaction skills. So, if it is up to us to make sure our children are finding the right balance between technological and good old-fashioned communication; then how much “screen time,” is acceptable – what is the answer? 

You only get to be young once!  Kids need to play games, not just sit in front of a screen, they need to get together with their family in person and talk, rather than communicate via messaging, and ensure that at a young age, they interact in imaginative play, rather than be spoon fed ideas by TV or movies. I say we bring back good old fashioned “let’s pretend” and allow our kids creativity and imagination to be used to its’ fullest.  Kids naturally have this in bucket-loads, but sometimes they need help in finding the right outlet for it.  If we can tap into this while they are still young, they will take this creativity and imagination forward with them as they grow and develop into teenagers and adults!  So, how can we do this at home during this challenging time?

Dress up boxes

are a great way of getting children into imaginative play. Fill them with the usual clothes, hats, shoes, etc, different shapes and sizes of material can spark the imagination and start a “Let’s pretend” game that will include lots of language and activity.  Material can become: Superhero capes, flying carpets, King or Queen robes, sarongs, beach towels, jungle animal tails (tucked into the back of pants), fairy or bird wings, picnic rugs, seaweed, fish, ponds, turtle shells and so on.

The possibilities are endless, especially with family joining in and, starting with the phrase: “Let’s Pretend!”


bring excitement, wonder and creativity. Finger puppets, hand puppets and handmade puppets (think popsticks, paper plates, wool, material, elusive empty toilet rolls, socks, and buttons!) are a great way to get children playing and interacting.  With different voices and lots of emotions, puppets help children learn how to express themselves verbally, with no pressure, and the play can end in a puppet show!

Imagination Corners

are fantastic, set up in a child’s bedroom, playroom, or outside, where an imaginary real – life scenario is set up. Themes include:

  • A shop – use shopping bags, cans and packets of (non-perishable) food, play money, a cash register (shoe box), etc. 
  • Doctor’s office – toy doctor’s kit, or handmade equipment such as tea towels for slings, toilet paper for bandages, band aids, pen and paper for taking notes, plastic spoons for giving medicine, etc.
  • A boat – made out of some chairs and rugs.  Include fishing rods (sticks and string!), hats, buckets, telescopes or binoculars (empty toilet rolls!), etc. 
  • Cars/trains/planes – made out of chairs, cushions, pillows etc. All sorts of places can be travelled to, near or far, for adventures.
  • Kitchen – old cooking utensils, with boxes or chairs to represent the stove, oven and fridge.  You may even like to use some real food such as cereal, pasta and so on!

The Helen O’Grady Drama Academy are offering special digital classes in Term 2 in the form of watch and participate at home videos with optional live Zoom lessons also available.

Enrol now to receive FREE Drama@Home Activity packs to help keep your kids active and connected while at home.

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