I confessed the fact that I don’t get down and play with my kids all that often, but I do constantly facilitate and watch them play. One of the things I love to do is help set up magical play scenes for the children. I was first inspired by this concept by Kate from Picklebums and I highly recommend this post from her: Imaginative Play at Home. Fostering imaginative play is important to me as it’s evolving play: it starts with the building phase, then the play phase, and the play evolves with the environment. Plus, as a bonus, this sort of play lasts for days!
Today, I’m sharing our most recent imaginative play scene. I was inspired by a photography challenge I am taking with Canon Australia. My last challenge was inspired by the theme Urban Island, and I made it into a night-time outing to see the city lights with my eldest daughter. You can read about it here: My Daughter and I Visit the City. The second challenge was a Desert Island theme; what a perfect idea for a imaginative play scene!
How to Make
A Desert Island play theme is a fun idea for the summer months. It was easy and inexpensive to set up. It can be used outside on the grass, under a patio/veranda or even inside (if you’re game) on a large towel.
Large shallow rectangle box (I used an underbed storage box from Bunnings)
Round laundry bowl (you an also use a standard kitchen bowl — I purchased this from Bunnings)
20Kgs double washed sand (I purchased a bag from Bunnings)
Blue food coloruing (optional)
Note: You only need a small amount so it’s very diluted and doesn’t seem to stain the kids hands or clothes
Washer or teatowel (I bought a $1 tea towel from Best & Less and cut out a rectangle)
- Duplo palm tree (make your own palm tree by threading a large leaf on to a stick)
- Treasure box
Most of the materials you will find around the house, however, because I want to have a large box dedicated for imaginative play scenes, I purchased a few of these items. The sand, the under bed box and laundry bowl came to a total of $30.
Step 1: The Island
Fill the round laundry bowl with sand and smooth to create the Island.
Step 2: The Sea
Place the Island into the underbed storage box and fill the box with water to the level of the laundry bowl. Add a little blue food colouring if desired.
Step 3: Create the Island
I cut up a cheap tea towel for a beach towel and used pebbles for a path. We used a Duplo palm tree to create the island look; you can make your own palm tree by simply piercing a large leaf on to a stick.
Step 4: Add Toys
Here are some ideas: Barbie, mermaids, fish, sharks, boats.
Step 5: Play
This sort of water play is perfect for the summer months!
Step 6: Create
The best part of this sort of play is it evolves and grows as the kids use their imagination. Last time I checked, this is what their play looked like. I helped create the basics and the kids did the rest, including the leaf trees.
Below is the picture I submitted for the Canon Island Blogger competition. I wanted it to capture a dreamy concept because my children remind me there are many ways to bring dreams to life. I used a Canon Powershot SX 40 HS to take the photographs.
Disclaimer: children should be supervised around water and with small parts (especially under 3′s).
I have found a wonderful collection of Imaginative Play Scenes around the web and included them on a board on Pintrest here: Imaginative Play Scenes.