Monday, July 11, 2011

Our New Pretend Play Areas

From trying on everyone's shoes and clomping around the house with a proud look on his face to me observing him taking more and more care and attention to his stuffed animals, Tyler has shown in many ways that he has a growing interest in pretend play. I, of course, was ready to follow his lead! Some pure Montessorians don't believe in pretend play until a child has a firm grasp of reality, but others combine Waldorf (where imagination is of utmost importance) with their Montessori passions. I am part of the latter.

Though I feel like we're running out of room in our home fast (and likely moving to a new city and smaller home in a couple months...oh dear...), I found space to create both a dress-up area and to incorporate pretend doll and stuffed animal play into Ty's quiet room. Dress-up also of course works on dressing and undressing, an essential practical life activity.

This is Ty's dress-up area which consists of a mirror, a basket for shoes and a basket for hats, bunny ears, hair ties (he loves to wear them on his arms!), a brush, several hats, one of my husband's old ties and a pumpkin costume. After we move, I will likely have more clothing items and costumes hung on hooks for him. For now this will do.

Ty's big into hats lately, almost as much as the shoes. I found several of these in dollar bins or dollar stores, and one in the foam section of Hobby Lobby. He doesn't like me to take photos of him in his dress-up clothes, but here are a few that I've snuck-in. He's just too cute to not capture!

I found this pumpkin costume at a consignment store for less than five dollars. Ty is in love with pumpkins, so I figured he'd love this, and he certainly did!

I really need to introduce window (and mirror!) washing soon seeing how often I am wiping lip prints from this mirror! He's never been one to pass-up smooching on his reflection.

Our pretend play basket is on his bed (which he still doesn't use as we continue to co-sleep) with his doll and favorite stuffed animals. The basket contains a bottle, dish, jar, spoons, bib and washcloth for meal play, a blanket for putting dolls and animals to sleep, as well as a syringe, toy bandage and a stethoscope for playing doctor. Ty has been feeding his doll a bottle and covering her up to go to sleep at night for months, but these toys have given him an opportunity to go further.

Here is Ty going through some of the steps of feeding his baby and putting her to bed. I just love watching him... He often feeds his teddy bears as well.

 Here he is checking his own heartbeat with the stethoscope. He doesn't appreciate putting it in his ears, but likes to use it this way which is of course fine! He really enjoys the pretend bandage as well, putting it on himself, us and his teddy bears.

Ty also has a pretend area that is in the main living part of the house, but he's had that since my posting about our Montessori home last year, and there isn't much new to talk about. Over time we've added some cars, airplanes, ramp play and some animal figurines. Many items are out of rotation at the moment. I'd like to replace some of the plastic Fisher Price items but for now they're fine and he enjoys them, I've just taken the batteries out.

As Tyler and his imagination grow, more and more items will be added. Right now this seems to hit just the right level for his age and interest. I really enjoy doing pretend play with little one's, so I can't wait to see what he comes up with in the future!

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