Play Silkies and Imaginative Play
“LOOK Mumma! Look at my magic Dragon Breath!”, “I’m a wizard with my magic cape!”, “Mum! I’ve made a big magic rainbow potion, come and have a try!”…. Yes, these are all things I have heard during play. What were my children doing you wonder? Playing with a Play Silkie. Yep, you read that right, a Play Silkie. I’m sure you’ve seen play silks in your searching, scrolling, googling and toy investigating as they have become quite popular over recent times. Why are they so popular you ask? Because they are such an open-ended support for your child’s imaginative play.
While I am in no means an expert in open ended play, being Mumma to a 4 and 2 year old and by including open-ended resources such as Play Silkies into our play space, here is what I can share from our play journey so far.
The importance of play
Firstly, let’s start with the importance of play. Play is paramount to encompassing and helping shape a child’s being, learn about the world around them, be in the present, and simply just being. Children make meaning of all the rapid changes that are happening both internally and externally by engaging and participating with their whole body and mind in play. Play allows the knowledge they have with exploring boundaries, investigating the unknown and combining with their endless imagination for the ultimate outcome – to have FUN (and to fill their minds with learning, but who doesn’t love fun more!).
What is imaginative play?
Imaginative play can often be undervalued, but children learn by experience and doing, making it an essential tool in helping children to learn about the world around them. Albert Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand”. Aren’t the limitless bounds that the imagination children bring just magic. But, Imaginative play? What am I talking about?!
Essentially imaginative play has no rules or guidance! It is the type of play that includes role–playing (pretend or real life role playing), dramatic play, creative play and where real and imaginative thoughts, ideas, systems come crashing together in a beautiful experimentation and exploration of learning. Imaginative play supports social and emotional development, promotes learning real life skills, encourages problem solving, inspires and fosters creativity, and develops language, abstract thinking and communication skills.
The list goes on!
Play Silkies role in Imaginative play
Play Silkies play such an important role in how they support imaginative play, because they are so open-ended that they truly can be anything. Being open ended means they are a match made in heaven for encouraging a child’s creativity. A child can grab a Play Silkie and in a split second it can go from a magical cape to a flying carpet, to a slithering snake, to rainbow soup, to a flag, to butterfly wings. Most of the time with little to no other resources.
The secret is to have them accessible. Pop them in a basket where the child is able to access independently, or hang them up on hooks at child height.
Role model with them. Use them in play yourself – use them as foundations/scene sets for small worlds (blue = ocean, green = grass etc.). Drape them over furniture to create secret caves, hidey spots, tablecloths, a shop. Use them as clothes, costumes, or dress ups.
How can Play Silkies support your Childs imagination?
What I personally love about Play Silkies is they support your child through all of their age and developmental stages, so you won’t find yourself investing in something that will fall to the side after a couple of weeks.
- yrs – Play silkies are fantastic for sensory play. Babies can pull, grab, and feel the fabric (safety precautions of course). Tie them to an A frame and let them dangle down, or tie other pieces to them for them to grab. Play Peekaboo. Stick them in a tissue box to pull out.
1-2 yrs – Thread rings onto the silk for them to pull off. Tie up their favorite animals/teddies/toys for them to untie. Use them to hide things under or as a cape or over furniture.
2-5yrs – This age bracket you will see their imagination really take off! Follow the child’s lead into their interests, how they play, what you hear and see. You might see more real life situations you can use for play – setting up a café, role playing with a baby (use a Play Silkie as a baby wrap or carrier). Or complete imaginative play you would never dream of! Pirates rescuing elephants from a dinosaur land! Needing a Play Silkie to be a flag or a hot air balloon.
5yrs+ – Through all of this play, you will start to see the children play independently and not need so much of your encouragement and role modelling. They may even start to create their own small worlds or use in their building and constructing or even as dress ups. But I still highly recommend it for your own 5 minutes down time and fun! Who doesn’t love being taken on adventures and seeing the world through a Childs eye.
Where to from here
If you already own Play Silkies, next time you can see and hear their brilliant minds lost in their world of imagination, grab a Play Silkie too! Let their imaginations take you on a wild adventure to all the places of the world we wouldn’t see. (The to do list can wait I promise!)
Or if you want to be a multitasking boss, grab a Play Silkie and incorporate it into things that need to be done – they can hang them on the line while the washing goes out, or put on their superhero cape to use their powers to help carry out the basket, or use a silk to set the table.
And lastly, next time you’re down the rabbit hole that is the world of toys, put a Play Silkie on the top of the add to cart or wish list!
Written by Angie @poppitandpuddplay