Imagine there's food

Imagine there's food

I’ve modelled this strategy for so many early childhood teachers - I figured you guys might want in on it.

I see it all the time - the kids with the language delays can sometimes struggle to join in with their peers. OR - they couldn’t care less because they’re so busy doing something active like bike riding or climbing. Engaging kids in a pretend game involving food can be a total game changer, and I’ve often had teachers left AMAZED at how quickly kids get involved in this, even the quietest or most active kids.

Set the scene - wherever you are with whatever you have (and you literally need nothing for this). Tell your little one you’re making something that requires lots of ingredients and then model putting them in to an imaginary place.
🎂 Cake is a good one. Here you can see me using the bubbles to pretend there’s a cake and we’re adding toppings together.
🍕 pizza also works because everyone knows a pizza topping. No answer is a wrong answer - if your kid wants to add paper clips then run with that.
🍹 smoothies are my GO TO - it never fails. I tell children I’m making a smoothie and that they need to “go off to the shops” to get me some food.

👶 younger children might be able to come up with random foods or objects to add. You can support them by giving them two options of things they’re super familiar with and pretend to hand the ingredient to them, e.g. “do you want blueberries or weetbix?”
👦🏼 Older children are likely to come up with all sorts. You could make it trickier by saying you only want vegetables, or only want green foods so that they have to think. You could create problem solving opportunities “goodness I’ve spilled all the milk and there’s none left at the shop. What could we add instead?” .

Everyone can relate to food. You don’t need any resources (but could use whatever’s around, even pebbles). If your child won’t come off their bike, their job could be “riding to the shops super fast” to bring something back. It works for all stages and can bring a variety of kids together.

Watch the interaction here

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