With so many electronic gadgets to engage your children, one might wonder if the days of building forts is history. However, educational and parenting experts are quite united in their encouragement of having your child engage in imaginative play. Thankfully, there are ways you can go about creating an environment to foster imaginative play in your own home.
Ways to Create an Environment that Fosters Imaginative Play for Kids
The absolute best way to encourage imaginative play is to turn off all the electronic gadgets vying for your child’s attention. Even as an adult I can see how seductive those devices can be and within a few hours you find that you’ve wasted away a good chunk of the day. Once those devices are turned off and put aside, you can help foster that imaginative play by providing some basic materials.
From a young age, children love to pretend to be different types of people. One day they might want to be a tiger and the next they are a fireman or doctor. Dig through your own closets or ask family and friends for different clothing items and props that allow you to create a fun dress up box. Sometimes you can find great items at a yard sale or resale shop. Some items (e.g. swords and shields can be homemade. An old trunk would be a great container for this, but even a plastic tote with a lid the child can easily use would work.
Gather up all the art supplies your children can use. Pencils, crayons, markers, glue, stickers, plain paper, construction paper, and scissors make for a great foundation. Depending upon your home, this could be placing everything into a plastic file box or a crate. Don’t forget something to serve as a smock for the younger kids to avoid ruined clothes when they are working with things like paint. My older sons used one of dad’s threadbare long sleeved work shirts for this purpose with the buttons along their backs.
This can be done by purchasing a music instrument kit or by making some of your own. Have some plastic Easter eggs laying around the house? Make a few shakers by filling them with beans or rice and taping for a tight seal. Use prerecorded music for them to ‘jam’ along to or just let them have fun. I still remember my older sons setting up the small children’s electric piano in our living room and grabbing a few percussion instruments to have a concert for us.
There’s hardly a child I know who doesn’t enjoy building whether the materials for construction are old boxes, Legos or Lincoln Logs. If you have plenty of sunny weather and a place for storing them, different sized cardboard boxes can entertain your young architects for hours outside.
Depending upon your home and personal preferences, items like Legos can be kept in large bins to allow for lots of thinking outside the set for how to build and then quick clean up. Don’t forget the favorite activity of building forts! (But, keep reading about an awesome product to help them create spectacular forts.)
Using Fort Magic to Spark Imaginative Play for Kids
One all time favorite activity for kids is to build forts. They could be as simple as putting a few chairs near each other and covering them with a blanket. My boys have been found draping blankets and sheets across the pool table we inherited with the house for some of their fort building. Last year they experienced building a small fort with PVC piping at their cousins’ house. The only problem was that the small kit they owned was just that ….small! Now they no longer have fort building envy as Fort Magic has entered our house with a so many great pieces that they can construct a fort even the 6 foot 2 inch teenager can enjoy.
What is Fort Magic?
Fort Magic is an innovative fort building and construction toy that enables children to build 3D, kid-created, “life-size” worlds for inventive play! Fantasy becomes reality with Fort Magic through the power of a child’s own creative hands! Easy to build, easy to clean up! Fort Magic ignites children’s imaginations for hours of creative play!
Fort Magic is different from other building & construction toys available for children because of its unlimited building potential to invent “life-size” creative designs. The “Magic” of the Fort Magic kit is in the large number and variety of sticks and connectors. It is this unique combination that allows kids to build any design they can think of with a single Fort Magic kit!
The Educational Benefits of Fort Magic are numerous and include the following:
– Increases Spatial Intelligence & Focus
– Stimulates Invention & Creativity
– Increases Fine & Gross Motor Skills
– Promotes Multi-Sensory Learning
– Builds Social Skills & Group Cooperation
– Increases The Ability To Plan & Finish A Project With Joy
– Enhances A Love Of Learning, Curiosity & Exploration
– Increases Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
– Builds Self-Confidence Through Positive Achievement
– Promotes A Positive Attitude Towards STEM Skill Development
– And More!
What We Love About Fort Magic
As I mentioned, there are a TON of pieces along with a great book with designs for several different types of structures. However, you are NOT limited to those designs. This is where you can really see imaginative play come into action as a child can conceive of a design and use the available pieces to make it happen. As of right now, you can only purchase the base kit and need to supply your own fabric to finalize the building process. Extra sheets or even decorative window treatments were pulled together by my crew to enjoy their forts.
I like that there is a large black mesh bag that all the pieces can be put into for storage or even to tote somewhere. Now that the weather is gorgeous in Alaska, I think we might have our next fort built outside when friends come over to play.
The boys really liked the fort with a tunnel they built. You can see a similar design in action here:
Want to WIN your own Fort Magic to enjoy? Head on over to the Fort Magic for Imaginative Play Giveaway page to enter by May 18, 2014.
Did you build forts as a child?
What types of imaginative play do your children or grandchildren enjoy the most?