Encouraging Your Child’s Imagination (When You Don’t Play!)

Encouraging Your Child’s Imagination (When You Don’t Play!)

Some parents love to play. They’ll sit on the floor for hours playing make-believe with their kids. They’ll build Lego houses, set up tracks and spend all day deep in an imaginary world. Others don’t play. They just can’t do it. They’ll happily read, they’ll take their kids on days out, buy them cool toys, bake with them and do crafts, but they really struggle with play. That’s fine, it’s often a skill that gets left behind, and it can be hard to get back in touch with play.

But, it’s still important to encourage your child’s imagination. Imagination gives them freedom and adventure. It helps to develop their social and verbal skills. It will one day mean that they can sit at school and write wonderful stories. Having an active imagination gives your child creative freedom, it gives them a coping mechanism, a place to go when life is cruel to them, and it means that they are never alone, or lonely. Imagination is a wonderful thing for a child. That should grow and develop as they do. So, how can you encourage it without getting down on the floor and playing make-believe games yourself?

Focus Photo of Super Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi Figurines

Buy the Right Toys

Some toys are just built to boost imagination. Tablets and other devices are great, and it’s only natural that children use them, but, try to stick to good old fashioned toys like Lego and wooden toy kitchens and blocks, which give your child the freedom to be creative and imaginative. Try to limit screen time, and give them what they need to enter their make-believe world.

Let Them Help You

Kids love to help us. Let them help you with shopping, cooking, cleaning and anything else that they can safely do. The more they learn, the more knowledge they will have to take into their imagination. Your life gives them ideas and inspiration, so welcome them into it.

Surround them with Books

Close-up of Woman Working

Books are one of the best things that we can give our children. Start reading to them as babies, and carry on until they are reading to you instead. Make story time a valuable part of the day and fill shelves with books. Stories are your child’s first best friend.

Visit Places

Like teaching them skills, visiting new places gives them more. A trip to the park can easily become a dinosaur adventure. Go to the beach, and they might see pirates. Spend time exploring when you can, visit places and let them dream.

Talk to them

You don’t have to play with them to be a part of their world. Ask about the land that they’ve made up. Let them give you the details of their adventures. Let them tell you all about it. Then, make crafts, cakes, pictures and stories related to the games that they are playing. You don’t need to play with them to become involved in their games. You just need to ask. Often our children are desperate to tell us all about the land of their imagination.



  1. Martin
    August 14, 2018 / 2:21 pm

    Some great ideas. for children here thankyou for sharing

  2. August 14, 2018 / 2:24 pm

    I love this! Just the importance of showing them that you’re interested in how they’re playing or what the world they’ve created is like, will mean more to them than anyone could ever imagine!! Kids just want to be recognized and praised for their accomplishments, big or small! Imagination is definitely an accomplishment that deserves praise.

  3. August 14, 2018 / 2:36 pm

    Excellent content! I love the “letting them help you” tip! Our son loves helping and learns so much doing so. Great tips!

  4. August 14, 2018 / 3:38 pm

    Great ideas and an interesting post! I’d add solo games to the list. Just because a parent doesn’t play doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of imaginative and educational games a child can play on their own. But I also love the idea of letting your kid help you. It does encourage play and teaches good skills for the future!

  5. August 14, 2018 / 6:31 pm

    Love this! I’m in the “I don’t play” category, and I often feel guilty about it. I don’t even remember really playing like that as a child, so I really struggle! Even when I was a kid, instead of actually playing make-believe with my dolls I just dressed them and set up houses for them. LOL! Anyways, thanks for the tips so that I can still feel like I’m nurturing my children’s vivid imaginations!

  6. August 14, 2018 / 7:19 pm

    Fabulous ideas! I am all about getting my little one some good old fashioned toys with no batteries and noise. Good old fashioned blocks can keep them busy for hours! Love it!

  7. August 14, 2018 / 10:43 pm

    Great post. I have two grandkids that I play with all the time and this article has helped me. Thanks!

  8. August 15, 2018 / 6:42 am

    These are great suggestions. Imagination is so important!

  9. August 15, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    As a mummy who doesn’t like to play with my kids very much I loved this article. So many great ideas to detract from playing with Mum!! Thank you!!

  10. August 15, 2018 / 6:44 pm

    So simple, but so helpful. I love the idea of letting them help you. You can be so surprised how much they can do!

  11. Christa
    August 15, 2018 / 6:54 pm

    Imagination is such an important quality to foster. I love to play with my children, but can’t always play exactly when or how long as them. This is a great resource for those times.

  12. August 15, 2018 / 11:39 pm

    Playing on their own is important too for their own growth. They are little scientists, so fun to just watch my daughter play on her own sometimes to see what she does next with her toy!

  13. August 16, 2018 / 5:07 pm

    Self-play is SO important! I encourage my 1 and 2 yr old to play by themselves. It gives me a break and it allows them to be more independent and creative. I recently purchased a “fun box” with things activities that my 2 yr old can do on her own. Great tips!

  14. August 19, 2018 / 8:55 am

    I like this article. Creativity is something that is not taught. Interacting with your kids is key. You don'(t even need to play with them, just ask them about things they are doing. They love to “tell” you things. My grandpa used to read to me, and he also told me the most amazing stories (all made up from his imagination) about walking in the woods and feeding berries to a family of Bears. I really like the idea of surrounding kids with books and basic toys and colours. Anything that encourages a child’s imagination will help with their development and skills needed to cope with “life”.

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