Your toddler is exploring the world in imaginative and creative ways. Here are play ideas and creative activities to support and boost toddler imagination and creativity.
About toddler play and imagination
Your toddler is like a little scientist – experimenting, observing, testing, trying out ideas and working out big questions about himself and the world he lives in.
A lot of this learning is done through play. Play, especially unstructured or open-ended play, allows your toddler to decide what to do and how to do it. This helps to develop toddler imagination and creativity.
What to expect with your toddler’s imagination
Your child has lots of thoughts and ideas, and is keen to express them all in creative, imaginative ways. Your toddler will probably enjoy:
Dressing up and pretend play start at around 15 months. Your child might imagine she’s driving a bus or putting out a fire as a firefighter. If you provide plenty of props, like old clothes and hats, it gives your toddler lots of ways to play at being a grown-up.
Your toddler learns by copying what others do – especially you! For example, by the time your toddler is two years old, he might imagine, that he’s talking on the phone, but in real life he’s holding a spoon to his ear and babbling to himself. Or he might pretend to cook dinner using leaves and grass he’s found in the backyard.
Music of all sorts can have your toddler imagining fantastic things like flying or floating in space.
Moving to favourite songs, splashing or pouring water, digging sand, and squeezing paint between fingers and toes will all be popular play activities too.
Your child might also enjoy playing with water in the bath. She might test what her toys can do by pouring water from one to another, dunking them underwater – or using them to empty the bath! If your toddler is playing around water, always make sure you’re there to supervise. Toddlers are naturally curious and often fearless, so they’re particularly at risk of drowning.
You’ll see your child expressing his imagination and ideas in all kinds of creative ways.
Play ideas and creative activities to encourage toddler imagination
You can try the following activities to encourage your toddler to put her imagination into action. It’s good to follow your child’s lead with most of these activities:
All children develop at their own pace. If you’re concerned about any aspect of your child’s play development, it’s a good idea to talk with your paediatrician or General Practitioner (GP).