I wasn't able to do last week's Picnic Table Talk because we were on vacation so I'm excited to be back this week.
I really don't have to do much to get M&M to pretend play. We got her a play kitchen 2 Christmas's ago with some plastic play food and that has kept her busy as I sit with her in her play room. She cooks everything and then brings it over to me to eat. I've noticed that I don't need a lot of props for her because she will just pretend to have whatever it is that she wants to play with or pretend to be.
I do have a few dress-up clothes, but they are mostly the fake store-bought skirts and dresses to be a princess. I have a plastic set of make-up (which was very hard to find actually because most make-up sets have real stuff in them even for little girls) that we use to put make-up on each other. I am in the process of re-organizing my playroom right now and I will be setting up an area just for dress-up. I'm trying to think of ways of getting stuff out in the open because for some reason M&M won't dig through boxes, etc. to find any toys, she will only go for the ones that are already out. I need to get things out without it being cluttery. I've painted some wooden hooks to hang up hats and purses and I have a mirror that I'm going to put up so she can see herself all dressed up.
Thanks to my mom and her mad sewing skills, M&M has her own purple princess dress with sparkles and a tiara. I have to brag a little bit because my mom actually made 5 of these dresses for her granddaughters and then she put on a daddy/daughter dance . Earlier in the day the girls, who range in age from 3-5, got their hair done and nails painted at a beauty school. M&M was in heaven as she twirled and danced the night away while sneaking mini cupcakes from the snack table. This was the ultimate pretend play night because she got to be a real princess for a night.
I've noticed that when M&M pretends she doesn't need fancy props and tons of toys, she just uses regular everyday household materials. M&M loves it when I join in on the fun. I let this time be a time where she gets to do and make up whatever she wants. Most of the time I end up being the daughter and she is the mommy so she gets to boss me around. I notice that a lot of what husband and I do comes out in her play. My mom would call this play therapy. She used to do therapy with children and letting them play and act out helped her to see what problems there were when kids didn't want to talk about something. I have to be careful what I do and say because M&M is going to act it out! It also helps me to see what areas I need to improve on and gives me time to think about what I can do better next time when a certain situation comes up.
I have one concern of late with M&M's imagination and that is she is picking up things from other children as she plays with them and her new thing is "killing" things and people. Of course I don't even want her to act this out or even talk about it, but I don't know how to make her see how serious it is. I don't think she understands what it is, but that is something I really don't want her to pretend.
As you can see I don't have a lot to offer in this area, but I am excited to look at what others do so that I can get some great ideas and maybe have some structured time set apart for pretend play. I know M&M would love it!