It makes a great, goopy, rainy-day surprise, perfect for dribbling through texture-curious little fingers.And if those fingers should end up in that little mouth? Colors, textures, a blank slate for creative expression—what's not to love?Blanket or sheet furniture = a magic land like no other, a perfect place for kids to role-play and explore a very early form of independence as masters of their own "domain." "I pull the chairs away from the dining table and throw a king-size comforter over it, allowing it to drape to the floor over the sides and ends of the table," says one Motherboard Mom."Even at the ages of almost-8 and 12, they'll still play in the fort, but typically pretending that one of them is a mechanic or a veterinarian and the other is bringing in a vehicle or a pet."When the allure of the fort fades, a dollhouse—with its higher level of lifelikeness—may keep your child fascinated and get him or her thinking all about buildings and spatial relations."A simple swath of fabric is anything but in a child's eyes."Maya wraps them around her like a boa and prances, drags them like a tail, swaddles her baby and puts her down for a nap, wears them like a cape, plays peek-a-boo, even asks me to drape them over her chair when we eat—quite throne-like," says Maya's mother, Michelle Owens."Hand prints, footprints, globes molded on balloons, masks for Halloween—its simple nature makes it indispensable," says Jones."And it's helped Aidan understand things in school.
"—just like the bunny in the stellar children's book Not a Box by Antoinette Portis. Kids love to pretend to be certain things—favorite TV characters, not surprisingly, are hugely popular, as are "mommy and daddy," animals, and princesses/princes—but nearly half of moms say their kids have come up with some wacky creations of their own.
In fact, in a recent Motherboard Moms poll nearly 75 percent of moms said their preschoolers engage in make-believe activities every day.
That's great, Elkind says, because "Imaginations and creativity are like muscles: If you don't use them you lose them." Here are 14 easy ways to help get your little ones' creative juices flowing.
It's a powerful way of discovering the world around her.
(And it's not so bad to have a little helper when cleaning the tub, right?
) Michelle Owens, mom to Maya, 2, says that cleaning tools are a no-fail "toy" for her busy toddler.