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5 tips for encouraging imaginative play {Begin Again Toys Balance Boat}

So much of our day is structured. We run from one activity to the next and there is not a whole lot of unaccounted for time throughout the day to simply sit back, relax, and enjoy our surroundings. With recess being a mere 10-15 minutes at school and homework piling up, free time for kids can become priceless. Imaginative play is a great way to develop social skills, language skills, and problem solving skills. I try to encourage
imaginative play in our home as much as possible.


5 tips for encouraging imaginative play

tips to help encourage imaginative play

  • Schedule time for free play. In this day and
    age we are constantly running from one appointment to the next. With after
    school activities and play dates our days can become overrun with commitments.
    Make a conscious decision to make time for free play.

  • Let it go. Be okay with the fact that there
    will be a little bit of a mess. A little mess is a very small thing to worry
    about in the grand scheme of things and coloring outside the lines can lead to
    beautiful artwork. Little pieces of paper strewn about take mere minutes to
    pick up once playtime is over – but during pretend play those pieces of paper
    may be the snow your child needs to see in order to win his/her Olympic metal
    in skiing.

  • Encourage your child by asking questions but
    be careful to resist the urge to instruct. Asking how something works or why
    something happened during imaginative play is a great way to get the ball
    rolling, but creating a whole scenario or jumping in to referee a situation will
    not encourage children to take action and be the driving force behind playtime.

  • Get outside. I am a huge advocate for
    spending time outdoors whenever possible. Weather we are riding bikes, drawing
    with chalk, digging in dirt, or leading a safari through the backyard; spending
    time outdoors provides a whole new window of pretend play possibilities.

  • Provide open-ended toys for children to play
    with. Toys that encourage creativity and imagination while providing freedom
    from structure are great. Dress up clothing, Arts supplies like paint and
    paper, as toys that do not come with a set of rules in order to be played with
    are all good examples. Let the children be the driving force behind whatever
    they choose to play.

Encouraging imaginative play can be fun for
everyone. I enjoy participating in pretend play with my children, taking
direction from them. We play dress up, pretend to be super heroes, and enjoy arts
and crafts time frequently. But the fan favorite in our home is anything that
involves animals. So it should come as little surprise that my children have
come to really enjoy the Balance Boat by Begin Again Toys {Thank you Begin
Again for providing a sample of the Balance Boat for the purposes of review}.
It provides us with hours of imaginative play.

we love about the

Again Toys Balance Boat:

The Balance Boat is made from eco-friendly
rubber wood with non-toxic child-safe stains. This means that this is a safe
toy for my tots to play with and it is made thoughtfully with how its
development will impact the environment. It also means that there are no
batteries required for play, which is a big bonus for me.  

The animals in the Balance Boat are all
endangered animals. There is a
black rhino, blue whale, African elephant, Jamaican
iguana, chimpanzee, giant panda, ivory billed woodpecker, bamboo lemur,
orangutan, Bengal tiger, mountain gorilla, sea turtle, pygmy hippo, California
condor, and an African lion. This creates a great opening to discussing and
learning about animals.

This toy can be used to work on dexterity,
problem solving, and patience by using the 15 pieces to try to stack the
endangered animals as high as possible while balancing them on the wooden boat
or a solid surface {depending on skill level of child}.

This toy can also be used to encourage imaginative
play by asking children to create stories or games of their own using the
pieces. My son likes to stick the animals in his pockets and hide them around
the house so that he and his brother can go on a safari.

The Balance Boat comes with a wood tray for
storage and display making it really easy to keep together and clean when not
in use.

And last but not least, a portion of the
proceeds from sales of the Balance Boat are donated to a variety of animal
charities chosen by you. You can visit on twitter at @BeginAgainToys or on Facebook at
Begin Again
to vote monthly for your favorite charity.

Begin Again Toys Balance Boat with endangered animals

Begin Again Toys Balance Boat with endangered animals review

Begin Again Toys Balance Boat with endangered animals encouraging imaginative play


I have enjoyed using our Balance Boat to
foster imaginative play in our home. We use it to create fun safari adventures
as well as a fun game for the entire family. Although when my children are in
charge the “rules” of the game frequently change. Regardless, it is always
entertaining. The recommended age for the Balance Boat is 3 years-old and up.  You can purchase the
Begin Again Toys Balance Boat for $35 {current
price at time of review}.

I like that the Begin Again line of toys are
responsibly crafted and eco-friendly. I love that these are battery free toys
that require the kids to be the driving force behind how the toys are played
with. The Balance Boat in particular is great for imaginative play.

How do you encourage imaginative play?

Is there a toy that brings out your child’s wish for
pretend play activities?

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