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How to encourage Imaginative play with Soufi

by | May 26, 2021 | Just Kids, Play + Learn, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Play is what our kids do BEST! It’s their “job” so to speak but sometimes figuring out what to play can be a challenge especially when you don’t have mom, dad, a sibling or friend to rely on. That’s why it’s important for parents to know how to encourage imaginative play and help our kids develop their own creativity!

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what is imaginative play?

Also called pretend play, role play, dramatic play or simply make-believe. My favourite definition is by Piaget:

“Piaget defines imaginative play as one of the purest forms of symbolic thought available to young children. Imaginative play provides children with an opportunity to fit the reality of the world into their own interests and knowledge and thereby strongly contributing to the child’s intellectual development.”

Mayesky, 2006

Simply put, imaginative play is one of the ways children make sense of and understand their world. During imaginative play, toddlers use symbols (using something to represent another eg, a matchbox becomes a car, blankets a fort) and make-believe (becoming a firefighter, teacher, a mom or dad, superhero) to replay events and experiences they’ve seen. There aren’t any rules and the child is free to think abstractly, nurturing those abstract thoughts will someday help your little one better understand abstract concepts such as numbers and letter-making pretend play far more important than we adults can ever imagine.

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where to buy plantoys doll accessories south africa

Why is imaginative play important?

Around 1-2 years play naturally becomes more imaginative play but even babies start imitating what they see around them as they grow more curious of the world. Providing that one on one, engaged time with your baby will help promote imitation which will, in turn, set the foundation for imaginative play. By age 2-3 you’ll see your child showing an interest in real-life moments. He/she might use sticks for writing, preparing make-believe dinners, want to dress up and role play acting out stories and events. They’ll also start noticing popular characters seen on TV or at school – suddenly Minnie Mouse joins moms for tea. It’s all part of imaginative play and should be encouraged!

benefits of imaginative play

how to encourage imaginative play

Some kids (just like some adults) may need a little help unleashing their imagination. Kids with speech delays specifically might also feel self-conscious and unwilling to take part in group pretend play. That’s okay, a little nudge to get them started may be all that’s needed for hours of fun.

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Follow these tips on how to encourage Imaginative play when needed:
  • PLAY ALONG and follow your child’s lead. Make time for play, even if it’s just 20 minutes. Forget about rules and trying to make sense of it all. Only offer ideas and suggestions if asked.
  • Allow for alone and group play. During alone play creativity get’s the upper hand as your little one comes up with their own ideas, games and scenarios but when playing with a friend, social skills, emotional intelligence and language development get challenged too.
  • Provide your child with interesting experiences to draw inspiration from. Read books, go on outings, tell stories, watch a play, enjoy family movie night, TALK!
  • Encourage open-ended play by challenging them to use their favourite toys in new, exciting ways. Can the LEGO castle become a car? What can we use our wooden blocks for today? Is Barbie a teacher, pilot, doctor or mermaid today?
  • Don’t forget about the “beautiful junk”. A cardboard box becomes a bus, toilet paper doilies binoculars, old newspapers a couture dress!
  • Provide age-appropriate props and toys that represent real life. Food and baking kits, pots, pans, baby strollers, brooms, buckets, play kitchens, mud kitchens, tool belts, makeup kits, dolls, cars, dress-up clothes, puppets, tea sets, figurines and small toys, stuffed animals, ride-on toys, suitcases and more! Rotate toys and don’t provide too many options at once. This may be overwhelming making it difficult to choose what to play. You know you’re child’s interests, start with those and add more as your little one grows.

Current interest in our home…

Ava, our girly-girl is obsessed with makeup!

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Lia has developed a very keen interest in dentistry – I think the tooth fairy may have influenced her.

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best dress up pretend play sets for kids soufi south africa

Eliana dreams about becoming a vet but only after she’s competed in gymnastics at the Olympic games. In the meantime, Milo seems happy to play along as she prepares…

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An all-around hit however has to be the PlanToys surgeon set! Our girls get so excited when learning about their bodies and this set provides hours of learning fun as they perform “life-saving procedures” on each other.

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soufi plantoys surgeon make believe doctor set

Best place to buy toys and sets for imaginative play

Soufi! There’s simply no other toy store that sells the same variety of PlanToys pretend playsets and toys. And you just won’t find a better brand than PlanToys.

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The quality is incredible and the themes included, like none we’ve come across. Find all those popular choices… Baking sets, cooking sets, play kitchens, food, strollers and tea sets BUT then also… Dentist sets, makeup artist kits, toolbelts, veterinary set – complete with X-rays, a hairdresser kit, shaving set, surgeon’s set and many more! Themes we never seem to find even though many kids dream about becoming a vet or doctor or running their own dog grooming service.

fun pretend play food and serving sets Available from Soufi

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soufi plantoys pretend play toy food sets for kids south africa 1

Imaginative play sets that encourage role-play Available from Soufi

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soufi plantoys pretend play toy sets for kids south africa

Other imaginative play toys Available from Soufi

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Not only has PlanToys kept an open mind but they also care about the future. PlanToys products are eco-toys; made from reclaimed rubber tree wood. The glue that used is E-Zone, making it non-formaldehyde and toxic-free, the colorants are organic plant derivatives and the packaging is eco-friendly too – minimal to no plastic use.

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soufi plantoys eco friendly toys for kids south africa
just a mamma blog soufi plantoys eco friendly toys for kids

These toys are sustainable, mindful, educational, invites play and they look pretty too. Having them around the house makes everyone happy and invites our girls to hours of imaginative play as they get to live out and explore their dreams.

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soufi plantoys

Of course, we have a discount code!

We adore Soufi and the entire PlanToys collection and have teamed up to offer YOU a sweet little discount code. YAY! The discount code is valid on ALL products across the entire website! Pretend play, water play, toys for babies, toys for toddlers, water block, puzzles, carts and cars. ALL OF IT!

justamamma soufi discount code

*Soufi also offers FREE delivery on orders over R500!

CLICK HERE to visit the Soufi online store at

how to encourage imaginative play with soufi 1

*CLICK HERE for more Play + Learn blogposts and gift guides.

PHOTO CREDIT |  Celeste Van der Berg from Celeste van der Berg Photography


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