Looking for Props for imaginative play?

August 30, 2014

A few basic props can set the stage for hours of creative make believe. One piece of fabric can be used in countless ways: a cape for a prince, a blanket for the picnic, cloth for the shop, laundry for the clothesline or a wrap around dress for the queen- the possibilities are endless!

The collection need not be expensive and certainly can be acquired over time. Train your eye to look for hidden treasures in all your usual places. Consider your child™s age, capabilities and limitations and choose items with safety in mind; no small bits for our babies who like to taste everything!

Home: Take a tour of your home and look for old clothes, scarves, shoes, ties, hats, jewelry, etc. Children love to dress up and one item can totally create th newspaperhat2702322092_6d0da6d3dd_ze character for an afternoon of adventure. Donate a few ‘real™ utensils, pots, pans or bowls from the kitchen. Those storage containers missing lids are wonderful for water or sand play!

Garage Sales and Thrift Stores: Search for clothes, shoes, coats, costumes, hats, prom dresses, bandanas , toy figurines (soldiers, dolls or animals). All these things can help your child create a play world (large or small) where they can be heros or directors or even royalty!

Friends: When your friends are having sales or donating gently used things, ask to have a look. Best friend Diane may have the perfect cape for your little princess! Or brother Doug may have a work shirt with a name patch for your little mechanic.

After Sales: After Christmas, Halloween, Valentines Day, Easter or July 4th look for costumes and special bits like masks or swords or hats. Items for decorating and seasonal stickers can be purchased for less than half price.

Fabric Stores: Look for end of the bolt and clearance sales; ½ to 1 yard of fabric can unleash all sorts of creative opportunities for your little ones. A quick hem around the edge ensures they last for awhile (some materials don™t need a hem, like fleece) Find ribbon, tulle, special fabrics and velcro (My favorite notion!) on sale.

Appliance or Electronic Stores: This is my all time favorite place to check! For boxes. BIG boxes for creating castles and houses and cities. Half the fun is decorating them and when they melt in the rain or crumble from too much attention you can just toss them and start over again. Hours of fun guaranteed!A box? Voila! A custom made castle!

My children’s list of favorite props (from back in the day):
Capes (the number one favorite for both!)
Wands, swords, shields (a close second!)
Clothes: Hats, Tiaras, bandanas,vests, skirts, belts
Puppets, stuffed animals, dolls and their ‘gear™
Boxes; all sizes
Building system like blocks or duplo or lego.
Dishes and kitchen props
Masks, eyepatches, sunglasses
Specialty items like a doctors kit, tools, shopping cart or baby stroller
Old phones, writing pads, pens
Music instruments (toy or home made)

Make a game of deciding what your new found treasures can become!  That box could be a perfect: dollhouse or play microwave or pretend washing machine.  That flat cardboard could be: an artist™s easel or a shield for a knight or a serving tray.  Get the idea?  The possibilities can be endless!

Happy playing!