Recently I’ve noticed Miss 13mo engaging in some basic imaginative play using a couple of her animal figurines. She would take a few of them and “walk” them up and down the Grimms rainbow stackers we’ve got in her play area (see previous post). To help her exercise more of that imagination, I set up a small-world invitation to play for her on her play mat this morning while she was napping and left it for her to discover when she woke up.
Here’s what she did with it.
She brought the animals to a separate area on the play mat… and cooked them a vegetable feast consisting of real tomatoes and felt vegetables 😂. She fed the animals lettuce leaves and carrots and then said “yum yum”.
This was totally NOT what I had in mind or thought she’d do when I set up the animal small-world play, but it was truly such a joy watching her run with her own ideas at only 13mo. In fact, I thought her ideas were better than what I had expected her to come up with.
Here is she, naturally linking two of her current interests (animals & cooking) so seamlessly and perfectly, building on her own experience of eating and feeding animals at the zoo, and solidifying her understanding of food knowledge, of cooking, of food/eating-related language etc through play.
Play is more than JUST play. It’s a child’s way of engaging with and making sense of their world. It’s important work! 🙂 And when they don’t play according to what you expect, it’s not a failed activity. They’re still learning and they’ve just shown you (the adult) how rich and limitless their imagination can be.