Unleashing imaginative play

Simple materials

Summer has finally arrived! Perhaps it's a good time to look afresh at your equipment and consider what truly supports children's development. Then remove what does not. Why? Because less is more in children's play, since less equipment requires more imagination.

Last year I was privileged to spend a day with Joan Almon of Alliance for Childhood. We had a marvellous discussion about children’s imagination, sparked by reviewing "Simple materials, rich experiences", a PowerPoint presentation that accompanies   I made a unicorn.  In the course of our conversation, Joan described a cartoon in which two little girls are playing with their dolls. One brags, "My doll can say fifty words." The other looks puzzled and says, "My doll says anything I want her to!"

So have a good team discussion. Pack away some of the toys and observe what happens. By trimming back, you may discover that a few basic materials enrich – and de-clutter – children's imaginative play.

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