NEW DAY NEW LESSON » Children, Lesson of the Day, The Gallery » Encourage Kids To Have Active & Imaginative Playtime

Encourage Kids To Have Active & Imaginative Playtime

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This is probably one of those titles that makes you slap your forehead and says “Duh, of course. Why wouldn’t we?”.

But sadly judging from the way kids are now more exposed to TV, hand held games and computers, active and imaginative playtime is not always a given.

My older kids who used to spend hours creating with lego and blocks or just coloring would rather, given the choice, veg out in front of the TV or play games on the computer.

Good bye being active. Good bye imagination.

I was blessed with my fifth child. Since she was an infant, she could happily entertain herself for hours at a time. I have already posted how she can occupy herself for hours with post-its and ordinary household items.

She has spent more hours than I can count playing with plastic cups, shells, coins and dried apricot pits. (And a mini ceramic tea set.)

She did not spend enough time keeping her hair out of her eyes.

Shells meticulously collected by her on a visit to beach.

Apricot pits stolen from her older brother and sister. (Kids use them like marbles here.)

This is a mixed cup. Some shells and some American change.

She loves my yoga mat and finds all different uses for it.

She loves lining things up, especially in rows. Water bottles on the couch (can’t find the picture) and of course cards.

The best box of mismatched toys I never threw out.

She loves coloring and folding up papers. Like the million paper fans she drew and folded and lined up. (Told you she had an obsession with lining things up.)

She can have whole conversations with her dolls (and herself).

She has an imagination and makes her own toys. Like this fabulous launching device that sends the empty toilet paper roll launching across the room. (The key is making circular motions with the empty silver foil roll until small roll achieves lift-off.)

She loves balls.

She loves spinning.

And of course my little monkey loves monkeys.

Playing is hard work.

Every time I watch my little girl absorbed in play by herself (for hours at a time), happy and talking to herself, I smile and I think this is what all kids should do more of. They should use their imagination. They should be active participants in activities rather than couch potatoes.

Do your kids entertain themselves with every day items? Do they need to be entertained or do they play on their own? Do they like active playtime or do they prefer something passive like watching TV?


This post was inspired by the prompt of “Playtime” at The Gallery Week 22 run by Tara at Sticky Fingers.


You may want to check out some other great playtime ideas at the play academy.

play academy

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I am me and also lots of other things like a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a daughter in law, a sister in law, a friend, an oncology nurse, a blogger, a life coach in training, an avid book reader, a chauffeur, a chef, a shopper, a maid and on some days a bit overwhelmed. On this blog I share my journey of striving to see the best in everyone and everything. Strive, because I don't always manage to. Yup, I am human. I would love to have you join me in learning lessons in positivity from life.

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49 Responses to "Encourage Kids To Have Active & Imaginative Playtime"

  1. Kerry says:

    What gorgeous pictures, have to say Baba is an imagination king, he loves playing on his own and it is amazing what a 21 month old feels can be an airplane have learnt a lot via him with that! Ha ha

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks. Kids really have great imaginations, we just need to encourage them.

  2. jfb57 says:

    such a fabulous series of photos Susie! Being able to amuse oneself is such a valuable skill!

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks Julia. It really is a valuable skill and one I hope she will keep.

  3. Oh my! What an awesome collection of photos. LOVE the fact that they play with Apricot Pits like marbles… you won’t get them doing that here.. what a shame. Will have to see if I can raise interest in them :-) Love it when “natural things” become toys!!!

    Great set. No wonder it took you so long to do!

    Maggy x

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks Maggy. There has to be a better faster way to upload pictures.

      Here the apricot pit thing is really widespread-lol thinking about the British doing it.

  4. Billy Coffey says:

    What great pictures, and what great play!

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks Billy. She does play fabulously.

  5. She’s a very imaginative little girl indeed. Great pictures and there’s not to many for me — I could look at photos all day! =)

    1. Susie says:

      She is indeed very imaginative. Glad the pictures didn’t bore you.

  6. spudballoo says:

    This is a wonderful testament to her! You must print this post out for her memory box – what a smart and resourceful girl she is. Loved this post!

    1. Susie says:

      I figured since I never made her a baby book, the least I could do was blog about her and put up pictures. LOL.

  7. Terrific post Susie! What a wonderful little girl she is…I think she would get on well with mine!

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks Chris. So come on over and bring the boys.

  8. Such a beautiful little girl and fantastic photos. My sister and I used to make and decorate paper fans when we were small and your post brought back some lovely memories.

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks so much. It is lovely how something simple can bring back good memories.

  9. Deer Baby says:

    Great post Susie – she really does have a great imagination. Love the fans and the playing cards, shells and little red monkeys. She does look like you!

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks. I like to think she is prettier than me. :-)

  10. Steve says:

    I am genuinely saddened by the way new media and technologies have decimated the ability to concentrate of most kids. And the games are addictive too – genuinely so – which makes the kids less inclinced to find other things to do. And in this they are missing out. I spent hours building with Lego as a kid (and still do as an adult, in fact) but my eldest can”t devote more than 10 minutes to doing something practical and creative. Thankfully the little ‘un is just as different. Yes he loves the telly but open the backdoor to the garden and he’s gone… running barefoot in the grass and playing with the watering cans. All is not lost!

    1. Susie says:

      I agree with you Steve. I think we are lucky in that we are Sabbath observant so at least one day a week all the electronics are not used and they need to find other ways to entertain themselves.

  11. Nova says:

    Wow…I need a lie down now. Your gorgeous daughter is very busy isn’t she. Lovely photos….we have that spinning thing too. The children love it. :)

    1. Susie says:

      LOL. She is a busy bee. Though she does love to veg in front of the tv as well. I think that is her siblings influence.

  12. My children prefer to play with un-toys too -it gives them so much scope to play how *they* want. I just love these pictures – so much going on in them. Would you come and share them over at the Play Academy – I’d love my readers to see them.

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks Cathy. I linked up.

  13. She is adorable! I trained my daughter to do non TV self entertainment from the time I realised I was pregnant again… my son will play with trains and cars for hours and she will play with figures, babies and houses – I do nothing to steer them to those toys, they choose themselves…

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks. What is great with my daughter is that while the other four were born in pairs and always had someone to play with, there is 7 years between her and the next sibling and she has no problem playing on her own.

  14. These pictures are beautiful. Playing with these kinds
    Of toys has to be better for the soul than sitting in
    Front of a television. You have a gorgeous daughter and
    I love her hair.

    CJ xx

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks Crystal. I agree with you. And I love her hair too.

  15. Beautiful girl. Funnily enough we’ve had identical lines of fans here this week! When mine were younger, I was really interested in heuristic play and would give them a wicker basket full of everyday objects to fiddle with and explore. They’d spend far more time on that than on a loud, plastic, supposedly educational baby toy.

    Funnily enough my blog post yesterday was all about letting mine just be, and how it’s good for them to take the lead and use their imaginations. They do watch television and play on the wii, but they also spend hours outside making dens and creating fantasy games.

    1. Susie says:


      It is funny how certain themes seem to go around the blogshpere at once.

  16. Sandy Calico says:

    Fantastic photographs. My goodness, doesn’t she look like you?! x

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks. I guess after about 100 people have told me that she looks like me that she does.

  17. MrsShilts says:

    Looks like she has a lot of fun..Gorgeous hair x

    1. Susie says:

      She really does. Love her hair too.

  18. I am fascinated by the way she lines everything up!!
    Great pictures x

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks. Am thinking OCD??? LOL

  19. Blissful Mum says:

    What gorgeous photos – she’s such a pretty little girl and looks like she’s having a great time! My boys pester me for the television but I’m fairly firm in only allowing them to watch it for 20 mins in the morning (so I’ve got time for a shower in peace!) and a little bit after teatime. I find ‘modern toys’ with their flashing lights and noises don’t actually ‘do’ that much – the boys seem to be much more stimulated when they actually have to use their imagination and ‘play’ with something rather than just push buttons! Helen

    1. Susie says:


      There are some really good toys out there, but I find the kids tire from them.

  20. Mirka Moore says:

    Great pictures. I love her hair, same like my Isabelle has, any tips for brushing it???

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks. Answered you on your blog but will answer here again.

      Lots of conditioner, brush it in the bath while conditioner is on. Then brush after wiping it off and use some kind of moisturizer in the curls while it is drying.

  21. shafeena says:

    thats a great one !! you have one lucky girl up there !!! things have me worried here with my 18 month old just say mom !!

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks. Don’t fret too much. She is a fifth child and had a lot of independence and examples.

  22. It’s amazing what they will entertain themselves with once you turn off the TV, eh? I think TV and computer games have their place and their uses, especially when they are tired and need to chill, but getting them outside of away from the TV is very important. your little girl is gorgeous and a total credit to you :)

    1. Susie says:

      I agree as well. Thanks and will give some credit to hubby and her siblings as well.

  23. bubbleboo says:

    Oh, she is just gorgeous! What an awesome set of pictures – and what an imagination she has!

    1. Susie says:

      Thanks. She does indeed have a fabulous imagination.

  24. K8 says:

    I showed these photos to my puppychild for inspiration and she went nuts! “*GASP* Who is she? Can we go to her house? Does she have a dress-up box?” etc. etc. etc.

    I’ve got to show her the cardboard launching thing, that’s genius. After her fixation with cutting out paper clothes for her little paper Barbie doll, that is.

    1. Susie says:


      No we got rid of the dress up box because lice here can issue and did not want kids passing things from one to another. (They do in nursery but I am just a nut).

      You are welcome to come visit.

      She has loads of uses for cardboard rolls.

  25. Bev says:

    The pictures of her playing are wonderful, and not just because of that gorgeous fabulous hair!
    Ollie is like this too, he find amusement in the most random of things and (much to my hubby’s dismay) refuses to [play with any toy in the way it was intended (Hubby like to make the lego constructions on the box you see) Ollie cannot understand this, why do that when you can tie string to it and suspend it from places? hehe We should all encourage our children to have creative minds I think, I don’t mind a little tv but am quite anit computer games….