Activities that help children play creatively

These activities may be best suited for the age(s) shown following 
each activity. But remember, every child learns at his or her own 
pace! 

1. Use themes from literature to develop your children’s 
creative play. Read children books on a theme (see Appendix A). 
Brainstorm with the children how they can turn the play areas into 
the theme you are reading about. 

Brainstorm: What characters could live in a castle? What are the 
parts of castle? What could you do in the ballroom? Where could 
the kitchen be? What props do we need? Build the setting.

Before play time, you can 

Encourage children to develop new 
characters in their play by playing 
a game called “You be the... I’ll be 
the...” Fill a container with slips of 
paper with different real and make- 
believe characters from TV and 
children’s literature. The young 
children can help you make the 
list. Let each child choose a 
character from the container and 
role play during small group time.

Working with a small group of young children, have them 
write a TV story of their own. Give the young children some 
objects and characters to build the story around (for example, a 
bunny, bear, magic flute, golden egg, and a basket). Help young 
children create their own story using these items. Then, have the 
materials available for them to act it out during play time.

Have a box of recycled materials available to create props 
for their play. Brainstorm with the young children how they 
could make the props they need. (2’s - 5’s) 

5. Developing a superhero! Have the young children choose 
a favorite superhero. What do they like 
about the superhero? What don’t they 
like about the superhero? List the 
things that they would do the same or 
differently if they were a superhero. 

Read theme-related books to the 
young children (see Appendix A). 

View theme-related TV programs and 
videos. Have children make up 
different endings for stories. Work with 
young children to write sequels to the stories. Encourage them to 
use the content from these books in their dramatic play. (5’s) 

7. Have the young children create their own puppets of their 
favorite media character. They can use socks, bags, sticks, paper 
plates. Allow the young children to use the puppets to act out 
their ideas.

8.Watch episodes of Barney and Friends or other programs 
with a theme. Use the show to widen the young children’s 
experience base. Next, provide the young children with the 
appropriate props or materials to make props, costumes, and 
settings. Play with the young children and talk with them about 
their play: What are you doing? What do you need? What can I 
do? Where are we going?

9. Take the young children on as many field trips as possible 
to give them lots of firsthand experiences. Extend these field trips 
by creating settings for them to imitate and extend their play. 
These trips don’t have to cost anything — take the children to the 
bank, the library, the grocery store, etc
10. Make puppets of their favorite media character. Allow the 
young children to use the puppets to act out their ideas. Ask 
them to solve problems in different ways (for example, “You can 
only use your hands”, “You can only use words”, etc.)
11. Go cloud watching! Take the children outside and have 
them lie on a blanket and look up to see what they see in clouds. 
Talk about how the clouds change shape and how different 
children see different shapes. A good book to reinforce this 
activity is It Looks Like Spilled Milk.
12. Read a story through to 
the end. Then read the same 
story part way through, stop at 
a crucial point, and ask the 
children to make up a new 
ending.

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