Are you raising little pirates and princesses? Do your children love having adventures? Are they constantly asking for spare cardboard to make a castle? Perhaps asking to use the scissors to turn a cereal box into a sword? If this sounds like your children then read on.
The world of make believe
I loved make believe play as a child. My parents used to tell me stories about the adventures I used to go on as a child. I’d be going to the beach, or running a hospital full of sick teddies, or going on holiday (that was my favourite) – of course, they had tons of photos to back these tales up!
My children are no different, in particular when the three boys are playing together they are always on a mission or an adventure. It’s wonderful to listen to and watch as a parent but you do need to make sure you bring your A game when you too get immersed in the make believe play. Make no doubt about it – if you step on that crack in the floor tile the larva monster will eat you, you have been warned!
Make believe play is a really important part of childhood. If you visit any preschool classroom during a free play session you are likely to see a child pretending to be someone else. Pretend play is thought to encourage creativity, understanding of and empathy towards others and improving social skills with peers.
By allowing children to escape from reality for a while, you give them time to work out how they feel about life and how they are going to deal with it. By behaving as if they are someone else, children can explore situations from a number of perspectives.
The importance of adventures
My children love nothing more than a good adventure. If they ask what we are doing at the weekend or in the holidays, I will often say that we are going on an adventure.
The adventure might take us away from home, but equally the adventure might be in our back garden. Either way, we can be adventurous.
Adventures allow children to challenge themselves, to step outside the confines of a ‘normal’ situation and push their boundaries to new heights. Adventures allow childhood to remain magical and help to keep children in awe of the world around them.
Children these days get a bad reputation for being driven by electronic devices, but in order to challenge this it is us, their parents who need to give them the opportunity to see what else life is about.
Taking adventures outdoors
Getting outdoors always feels like more of an adventure. Perhaps you can spend some time as a family going on a walk somewhere you haven’t been before? Perhaps you could do a spot of orienteering or even create your own treasure hunt. Perhaps your children would enjoy a nature trail or a scavenger hunt or even making an obstacle course in your back garden?
If you have outdoor toys for your children they can take their adventures to a new level. An outdoor car might be a getaway car, or the bat-mobile for instance. They might be digging for treasure in their sandpit maybe, or pretending to be a monkey on a swing or climbing frame.
With outdoor play the possibilities are endless. There are some wonderful outdoor toys these days that can complement the world of make believe, I love the look of those made by Wickey. Something might look like a climbing frame with slide to you, but to your child it might be escape route from the pirates that have taken over their ship!
With outdoor play the possibilities are endless. Adventures don’t have to stop when the weather gets bad either, bad weather can often just make everything more of an adventure.
This is a collaborative article.