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My husband works in animation. Many years ago, he worked at a seriously cool creative studio where they were developing a concept for a kids TV show.
That show became Kazoops!
Now every time it comes on, my husband and I shout “Daddy used to work with the people that created this show!”
Our kids generally respond with something along the lines of “SHHH! KAZOOPS IS ON!”
It has been seriously cool to watch Kazoops! take the world by storm.
The show revolves around an inquisitive and imaginative boy called Monty. Each episode sees Monty confront a preconception about the world, imposed on him by an adult.
By asking “Why?” and “What if?” Monty embarks on a wild imaginative adventure with his pet pig Jimmy Jones.
Each episode contains a unique soudtrack, developed specifically for the themes explored in that particular episode. The music is exceptionally rad.
To celebrate the release of the Kazoops! toy range, I’ve chanelled my inner-Monty and am sharing 6 ways to encourage imaginative play with your littles.
As Monty explains, “things could always be different if you just imagine….”
Thanks to the team at Cheeky Little Monkeys, I’m also giving away a set of Kazoops! figurines valued at $100 RRP. (All the ones pictured.)
1. Small world play
What is a small world?
A small world is simply a miniature play scene set up with objects and toys from around the house. Above you can see a fairy-garden small world, a sailing small world and a dinosaur garden.
You can read more about some of our small world set-ups here.
How do I set up a small world?
Most small worlds are thematically developed and follow a child’s interests. If your child is enamoured with animals, how about a farm or zoo small world? Pirate lover? What about a sea-themed small world?
So decide on a theme and then collect toys and objects that fit in with the theme. Set your small world up within a tub, container or planter box.
Small worlds encourage story-telling, vocabulary development and oodles of imaginative play whilst encouraging children to develop their understanding of the world around them.
The one below incorporated sensory play and fine motor practice. Inspired by my friend Kristian, I filled a tray with baking soda, pom poms, pipecleaners and beads to create a Winter Wonderland small world. I also provided pipettes and water so that the kids could add it to the baking soda to create snowmen (Thanks for that idea, @raising.kinley!)
2. Bow down to the humble old cardboard box
You know the old joke about why bother buying toys for kids when they just play with the box anyway?
The humble old cardboard box is basically the greatest imaginative invention ever.
At the moment, every time a box enters our house it beomes a boat. Transport is BIG here at the moment.
Above you can see some ways we’ve coupled our imagination with cardboard boxes.
We created a colour-coding posting game (back when the eldest was obsessed with post boxes.)
We’ve created a garage for all the toy cars., a stove top for the play kitchen and a birthday cake for some role play.
3. What could this become?
Similar to the way that most cardboard boxes are reused here, we play a game called “What Could This Become?” with our recyclables bin.
We wonder. And imagine. Then we create.
An egg carton coupled with cardboard tubes becomes a cityscape.
Paper tubes from the aluminium foil become binoculars.
A plastic berry basket becomes a weaving frame for a spider web.
It is always rad to see what the kids come up with.
4. Loose part play
Providing children with loose parts, be they natural or synthetic, promotes open-ended play.
When play is open-ended, this is where the imaginative and creative magic happens.
I used a book about birds to invite loose part play with playdough, sparkly doo-dads and feathers. Many fine-feathered friends emerged.
Another time, I set out sponges and more loose parts. As a result, I was treated to some delectable cakes.
5. Never underestimate the power of the pencil…
…or the power of the crayon. Or marker.
A piece of paper and something to draw with is a simple way to invite children to use their imaginations.
The dialogue that goes along with drawing provides a perfect route for children to develop fictional characters and landscapes.
“Tell me about your drawing” is a simple prompt to get an insight into your child’s imagination.
Another game we enjoy playing here is when one person draws a shape or line. They then pass the paper to another person who has to turn the squiggle into a drawing. Always a guaranteed laugh.
6. Open-ended creative prompts
Setting up art materials and inviting your children to create is another playful way to encourage imagination.
The first invitation above involved some dried leaves, paper and chalk pastels.
The emphasis is on the process and not the product.
The second example above involved process and product.
We squirted liquid watercolours onto colour diffusing paper.
I then cut the artwork into different shapes and created a Make-a-Monster activity.
Each monster created was unique and came with an imaginative back story.
The Kazoops! characters have been brought to life in a range of plastic figurines from TOMY and are available from Toys “R” Us.
Just in time for Christmas for the Kazoops!-loving kid!
Thanks to the awesome-sauce people at Cheeky Little Media, I have a set to giveaway. RRP $100.
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Ts & Cs
Open to Australian addresses only.
This is a game of skill. To be eligible you must complete the sentence.
Competition opens Tuesday 5th December 2017
Competition closes Sunday 10th December 8pm Sydney AEST 2017
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