As spooky décor begins to take over your neighborhood and the store aisles are filled with dreamy costumes, you may be wondering how you can get in the Halloween spirit with your little pumpkin this month.
October is a fabulous month to practice dramatic play, a form of pretend play. This thought-provoking month encompasses creativity that encourages children to step into a world of imagination.
If you really want to get in the Halloween spirit, you could create a spooktacular play corner in your house. Some thought starters are, “(Your Baby’s Name Here) Pumpkin Patch” or “The Mini Spooky House.” Our Halloween Fun Time Ducks are a great addition and are available in-store only at Walmart. This will create a fun play space for them to explore all month.
Pretend play offers so many benefits for developing the whole child. In this blog, we will look at 6 ways you can integrate pretend play with your baby, as well as the cognitive and emotional benefits that come with this out-of-the-box type of play.
Remember, that every baby is different and may or may not be developmentally ready for pretend play. However, they still can reap the benefits by watching and listening to you. After all, you are their biggest role model.
Hocus Pocus Phone Booth
Your baby learns how to talk before they can even say a word. That is because they are constantly taking it all in – listening to every word you say. Their brain becomes familiar with words and phrases over time. When this happens, they will begin to make sense of the world around them and start to talk with simple words or attention-getters. For example, an energetic “milk,” really means “I want milk!” It takes time and practice to put words and phrases together. That is where pretend play comes in. Role-playing can demonstrate language and social skills for a baby. Pretending to have a conversation on a pretend phone can show your baby how to greet and say "bye” to someone, as well as respond in conversation. They already see you taking calls, and this is a terrific way for them to practice taking their own. Not to worry, they’re still developing their language skills, even if they’re just babbling off sounds.
Tip: You can role-play for your baby by pretending to have a conversation between two pumpkins.
Super Heroes Splash Zone
For older babies and toddlers, our bath ducks are particularly great for role-playing in the tub, especially our all-new, Heroes Duck Set available at Walmart. This set comes with a variety of heroes including a doctor, lifeguard, firefighter, soldier, radiographer, paramedic, police, and a Marine. You and your baby can explore so many professions together. This set not only teaches your baby about heroes but expands their vocabulary and understanding of the different roles people play in society. Who knew that such a simple activity could be so enriching, right?!
Tip: Bring in an element of dramatic play by dressing up as heroes this month.
Spidey’s Crawl Track
As your baby develops language, they begin to understand that objects exist. One of their favorite objects just might be your car keys. They’re shiny and noisy so no wonder why they are so attractive. Pretend keys can safely allow your baby to explore interesting shapes and sounds while learning about cause and effect. This toy offers a terrific opportunity to play along with your baby. Every time your baby pushes the car symbol crawl like a spider on the floor. Stop crawling when they push the lock symbol. Make a “honk” sound using your voice when they push the horn symbol. This will teach your baby that actions have an effect.
Tip: Encourage them to get in on the crawling fun with you, as you both pretend to be a crawling spider.
Gobbler’s Food Stand
Create a little food stand out of those extra cardboard boxes laying around the house. Let your baby be in charge as you order from the menu of fruit kabobs, peas, and carrots. Watch as your baby uses their listening and higher-order thinking skills to match your request. This is such a simple activity that you can do it anytime and mix it up with other available toys at home.
Tip: If your baby is eating solids foods you could celebrate with real fruit, peas, and carrots after playtime.
Batty’s Pretend Mess
Our children love to help. When you are cleaning up a mess around your house, hand your baby a pretend mini vacuum and let them pretend to clean up too. This helps build their self-confidence because they feel valued and appreciated. Teaching responsibility is essential for building independence later in life. This creates a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to your baby that cleaning up can be fun. For example, ask them to put their blocks in a basket before handing them the pretend vacuum. This will motivate them to complete the cleanup task because they will look forward to playing with the fun pretend vacuum.
Tip: Have a cleanup song for transitioning between pretend play and cleaning up.
Mummy’s Musical School
Pretend play can also help your baby develop special bonds. For example, pretending to play music with a piano could develop a special bond with music. You will want to lean into what your baby is interested in and foster that connection, but this is a fantastic way to introduce your baby to music. Use a baby piano like this one to introduce musical sounds and melodies. Plus, this entertaining mini piano includes 9 songs, 18 spoken words, and 13 fun sound effects. Show your baby a real piano so they can make the connection between real and pretend.
Tip: At home, play Halloween piano music and dance around the living room floor together to extend your bond with music and each other.
We love this time of the year and hope we gave you lots of great ideas for a Spooktacular October! Share your pretend play photos with us @infantinobaby and we may just feature your little pumpkin on our social handles! Have a safe and spooktacular October!