Playtime ideas: let’s play

Try out some of these playtime ideas with your family.

Make believe and dress ups
  • Shops — play with empty food packets, pretend money, basket for shopping.
  • Houses — play with baby dolls, pretend food, old telephones.
  • Workshops — play with a table for a workbench, pretend tools, toys to repair, paper for writing ‘jobs’
  • Vet/doctor surgery — play with toy animals, dolls, toy medical equipment, dress ups, ‘cages’ for animals, ‘pretend medicine’, paper for writing ‘scripts’, waiting room seats.
  • Café — play with tables, chairs, menus, cutlery, plates, pretend food.

Dressing up your dress-up box

Role play and make-believe games help children to understand the world through mimicking experiences and trying out new ideas.

Here are some things you might want to include in your dress up box:

  • hats, berets, caps
  • long skirts and dresses cut to child’s ankle length
  • low-heeled shoes
  • men’s ties, shirts, pants and coats
  • handbags, baskets, jewellery, shawls and stoles
  • feathers, artificial flowers, pieces of material for capes and cloaks
  • police, fire and construction worker hats and costumes.

Image Children lead their own play with dress ups 

Games for growing and strength

Playing with puzzles, threading, playdough, and other types of manipulative play helps your child develop control of their hands and fingers.

  • Using puzzles — Lifting, turning, flipping and placing puzzle pieces
  • Tearing materials — Strips of paper, card, newspaper, thin card, tissue paper, fabric
  • Cutting with scissors — Straws, paper, wool, magazines, pictures, thin card, fabric
  • Using playdough — Using utensils and cutters, rolling, pressing and poking
  • Building things — Pressing, pulling apart and rotating Duplo, Lego or other construction equipment, or striking nails to join objects such as bottle tops to soft wood
  • Dressing dolls — Doing clips, buttons
  • Dressing up — Zips, buttons, opening purses, putting on shoes
  • Threading — Thread pasta, straws, paper clips, paper (with a hole punched through) onto string or wool
  • Weaving — Tie and twist wool, paper pieces, fabric, string or feathers through mesh or branches


Image Children play with musical instruments and dressups

Published — 15 August 2016 Last updated — 04 November 2016