A few nights ago, I re-read one of my daughter’s favorite books to her at bedtime, called Little Mommy.
This time, as we snuggled up to read, I told her why I chose this particular book:
“Hunny, this book reminds me so much of YOU, because everyday, you’re learning how to be a little mommy too, aren’t you?”
And this time, I watched her face as I read each page, and in her sparkling eyes, I could almost see her entering the storybook and becoming one with the main character (THE Little Mommy herself).
The next morning, after breakfast, with a grin on her face, she tells me she had a “really LONG, wonderful dream,” but wouldn’t tell me what it was about.
However, with the Little Mommy book in hand, she went to the basement and found an empty storage bin, gathered her dollies, and asked if she could take them in the back yard to give them baths and wash their clothes.

I knew what she was up to–she wanted to act out the story.

The pre-school years, up through about age 8 or 9, are rich with exploratory play-learning. 

And good books are the fuel for that critical imaginative play.  A good story feeds the soul and waters the creative mind.

I enjoy helping my kids enter into this wonderful play-world, knowing how good it is for them (and for me, since they usually become so immersed in play that I can get other things accomplished!

So I found a clothesline and clothespins for her, filled her bin with soapy water, and even dragged her little table and dolly furniture outside to put into the playhouse in the backyard. 

But once I got her set up, she was off to the races.
She actually brought the little book out with her, and with each new page, she acted out the scene. 
Several times, she’d stop, and ask me for more items:
a chalkboard, a stroller, an apron, and would then get back to her children.  It wasn’t long before her brothers joined in too.
This is the kind of imaginative activity we want to promote with our children. 
All it takes is a good book, a little helping along from mom or dad, and away they’ll go! 
What books capture your children’s imaginations, and suck them right in to play land? 
You know your kids best, and when you see and read one that you just know is MAGICAL, be sure to bring it home from the library or the bookstore! 
After a while, they won’t even ask to watch those mindless cartoons anymore.  They’ll be too busy in their own make-believe world.
Some books, like Little Mommy, are perfectly-suited for your kids to act out themselves.
The Fancy Nancy books are great for this too, as well as any of the classic fairy tales.
Then of course many books need to be entered with toys as the main characters and props.
Read your kids the riveting toy tale called The Tub People, then supply them with a family of little toy people at bath time, along with their soap and washcloth.  They’ll never let a toy get near the drain again when it’s time to empty the tub!
When we made our Construction Site Sensory Box, Joshua’s imaginative play was totally fueled by this book he chose the week before from the library.
 I’m always trying to keep my eyes open for special books that I know will stimulate my kids’ minds.
Of course, we can’t forget the descriptive and meaningful stories that abound in
THE Good Book
You will often hear me say that the best thing we every purchased for our kids was our
We have been using it to work our way through the Bible, beginning with Genesis, for the past 2 years.  We are currently in 1 Samuel, though we return to our beloved Genesis stories often.
In case you don’t already know, these first 10-12 books of the Bible are OVERFLOWING with narrative accounts.  
All kids greatly enjoy hearing and seeing a story told to them, then being allowed to retell it on their own. 
And yes, random characters and animals and plots are always SOMEHOW integrated into their version of the story, but that’s ok too! 
They’re just using their imaginations. =]

Here are some photos I snapped of OUR Little Mommy-in-training, along with text from the book.  After snapping these pictures, I thought it would be great fun to print them, and rewrite the book with these photos in place of the illustrations.
What a fun little keepsake that would be!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“This is my house and I am the mommy.  My children are Annabelle, Betsy, and Bonny.  They are good little children and do just as I say.  I put on their coats and they go out to play.”

“I do the dishes and sweep the floor, and wipe the fingerprints off the door.”
“I wash the clothes in my washing machine. I scrub them with soap and rinse them clean.”

“Then I’ll hang them on the line to dry.  I’ll have to iron them by and by.”

“Sit on my lap, it’s story time.  I’ll read a poem and a nursery rhyme.”

“My children like to go for a ride.  They sit in the buggy side by side.”
“Now I will teach you the A B Cs, and who can count to ten for me?”
“I think it’s time for me to bake. I’ll make some cookies and ginger cake.”
“I tuck them in bed and sing them a song, and they’ll be asleep before very long. We Mommies have such a lot to do.  Good night, dollies, I’m sleepy too.”
I hope you can enjoy some
imaginative play with your little ones today!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I just have to shut my eyes
To go sailing through the skies–
To go sailing far away
To the pleasant Land of Play.
-“The Little Land”
by Robert Louis Stevenson

2 thoughts on “Books : Fuel for Imaginative Play

  1. marianne

    Most excellent! I would recommend this site to homeschooling and non-homeschooling mom’s alike. Wish I had it around when I was raising and home-schooling my own children. What sweet memories you’ll have to share.

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