Exploring Imaginative Play with Very

As parents, we always want to do our best for our children. By encouraging them to learn, to be creative, and to thrive as a result. And the best way to do that is through play. But when it comes to picking the best ways to help encourage imaginative play, it can be pretty overwhelming as you make your way down the toy aisles.

By providing children with learning toys that challenge their minds while also encouraging growth, can be just as much fun as everyday toys. It is worth bearing in mind that when buying toys to remember that all children develop differently and at different rates. It is important to focus on creativity, problem solving, social skills, and critical thinking.

My daughter loves creating, wondering and exploring through imaginative play. It has always been one of her favourite ways to express herself verbally and physically. To interact and try out different roles and scenarios within safe boundaries of her own making. It is often fascinating to sit back and listen to her create some of the most intriguing stories and then jump in with another character to see what other scenarios she can come up with.

I think it's important to encourage imaginative play in children, create scenarios and situations for children, as well as providing them with a few essential toys to allow them to unleash their imaginations.

But What is Imaginative Play?

Imaginative play is essentially when children are role playing and are acting out various experiences they may have had or something that is of some interest to them. Perhaps you have seen your little one hosting an imaginary tea party with their teddy bears or pretending to run their own kitchen or perhaps they have sat on a chair pretending it's a ship for their next adventure as a pirate. These are all examples of imaginative play.

With a little imagination, children can turn the simplest of objects into hours of fun. It's a wonderful thing to witness and there are benefits that come with imaginative play that can make a difference with all aspects of development.

Why is Imaginative Play Important?

Imaginative play is often undervalued. It gives children a sense of freedom, increases their self-confidence and gives them the opportunity to express themselves in ways they are not used to. Through pretend play children learn critical thinking skills such as following simple instructions, developing expressive language, improving social skills and learning how to manage their emotions. Imaginative play also encourages creativity while developing social-emotional and language skills. It is one of the most natural ways for children to communicate and express themselves.

Ways to Encourage Imaginative Play?

The best way to encourage imaginative play is to provide your child with a space in your home for such play. It could be a separate room or even just the corner of a room. There are many ways that you can get creative when to comes to imaginative play. It could be something such as a cupboard, a chair, or blanket over the dining room table. You will be surprised at what things you have in your home can be for a child's imagination.

One of my daughter's favourite ways to play is role play. Whether that is cooking up a storm in her kitchen, create her own pop-up restaurant or serving potions and tea in her pretty little tea shop. My daughter enjoys acting out all the things we do as parents and often she will try and copy me as we make a lunch or a dinner. We especially do this when we bake together, where I will lay out all her cooking equipment and utensils so we can do it together. Very has an extensive range of some fantastic ideas when it comes to role playing toys that caters to all. 

At the moment, my daughter likes playing with ice cream and gelato, so this Melissa and Doug Ice-Cream Counter is the perfect addition to her role-playing toys. She likes to serve up delicious ice cream to everyone that visit and not forgetting our two pups too with Mimi's Special 'Grain Free' Pup Cups. With eight wooden scoops, six toppings, two cones, a plastic cup, a scooper, and a wooden spoon, it looks just like an old-fashioned ice cream freezer. 

Perhaps your little one is more of a sandwich maker? With this Melissa and Doug Wooden Slice and Stack Sandwich Counter let them create the most exciting sandwich possible and prepare to pretend that their sandwich is the best one you have ever had. This set is equipped with meat and cheese slicer for the wooden play food and felt sandwich roll and toppings to create sandwiches ordered from the menu. There is even a wooden dressing bottle, play snacks, and a cup with drink.

Throw picnics and tea parties is another great way to encourage a little imagination too, I mean who doesn't love a tea party or picnic? This Great Little Trading Co. Afternoon Tea set is the perfect way to set up a tea party with all their favourite toys. Just remember pinkies up at all times. 

This crafted wooden tea set comes with lots of lovely realistic pieces for the best tea party. Inside the box, you will find: 4 sandwiches, 5 slices of cakes, 4 macarons, 2 scones, a pot of jam, 2 plates, 2 cake forks, and a lovely cake stand to display them all on.

You could invite your friends over and play dress up too. My daughter enjoys playing tea parties and even more so when she puts on her favourite Rapunzel dress along with her favourite soft toy. This Rapunzel Classic Costume features detailed lace patterns on the bodice, puff sleeves, gold trim on the neckline and waistband, and a character cameo on the front. 

Not forgetting they have to make sure that they all look the part before going to the tea party or ball. The Teamson Little Dreamer Rainbow Tabletop Vanity Table is perfect for this, especially if you're tight on space too. 

It makes the perfect addition to any space. This table comes with eight accessories, including: 2 lipsticks, 1 nail polish, 1 compact powder with a puff, 1 eye shadow with brush, 1 perfume bottle with spray nozzle, 1 brush, and 1 comb. 

The Love Diana Deluxe Train Case Set is perfect for children that want to try and experiment with makeup. The zip-up carry case is perfectly portable for taking your makeup with you on the go! Inside this case you will find 11 coloured lip glosses and a strawberry ice cream and cupcake flavoured lip gloss. Complete your makeover with your makeup brushes and flavoured lip balms! My daughter and her friends have had so much fun create new make-up looks on each other and now she has a place to store all her favourite lip balms and eyeshadows.

Dress-up role play allows your child to engage emotion, cognition, language, and sensory motor skills all at the same time. But it can also help develop physical abilities, social skills, empathy, vocabulary and decision-making skills.  

So, grab your cape on or pick an action figure to begin the greatest battle between good and evil that the world has ever seen. You can have even more fun if you play the villain and let your child defeat you. My daughter loves unleashing her inner hero with this Miraculous Ladybug Costume and transforming into Marinette! Complete with a red and black spotted jumpsuit and matching mask to help them keep their eyes peeled for the any Akumas! Maybe you're more of a Cinderella and you're late for the ball? Or you have found your true love and you're dreaming once upon a time as Sleeping Beauty? Don't forget to head over to Very to see all the wonderful fancy dress costumes they have available; it may be hard to choose just one!

It's worth investing in children's fancy dress costumes and props of varying types and sizes. It sparks their imagination to dress up and look the part. For most children, dressing up is a big deal. You could also put together a dressing up box, with a selection of fabric, scarves, or simply a selection of hats, so that the children can assemble their own costumes and accessories.

It would be great to make a dedicated place for play. If your budget won’t stretch to a something like a room or playhouse, consider setting aside a corner of the living room or garden for building dens or keeping a kitchen. With a little imagination, children can turn the simplest of objects into hours of fun. It's a wonderful thing to witness and there are benefits that come with imaginative play that can make a difference with all aspects of development. You'll be surprised with what their little imaginations can come up with. 

** We were kindly sponsored by Very for this post but as always, my words and opinions are my own. Images are subject to copyright, please seek permission before using. **


  1. You reminded me of my daughter when you was 5 years old, we've always encouraged imaginative play with her and actively participated in it, it was one additional way to connect with her.

  2. My niece is very much into dressing up and hosting imaginary tea parties with scones and other cakes and last week, when I was able to spend some time with her, she was so engrossed in her imaginative cake baking, I have no doubts it would have been amazing had it been a real cake!

  3. I used to love watching my children playing with their toys. My daughters are teenagers now but my son still likes to ocassionally play with his toys and watching him brings me joy.

  4. Dressing up is such a great way to inspire imagination! It really lets children explore entire new worlds in their minds.

  5. My eldest grandaughter loves to dress up, and I could watch her all day long as she uses her imagination in playing

  6. This is so sweet. I remember enjoying a lot of fun like this with my daughter when she was little. Such sweet memories.

  7. This is all so cute and imaginative play is so important! I really like baking set.

  8. How sweet! A great way to encourage imagination...as a little girl I would have loved these toys and tea set!

  9. So important for kids to explore imaginative play! Love all the options you've shared!

  10. Imaginative play is so important for growing kids and I love all these items from Very. So glad your daughter is having the opportunity to grow her mind

  11. Imaginative play is really important for growing kids. She looks so happy playing with it.

  12. I love seeing kids being creative and using their imaginations, and not just using electronics.