Fun Crafts For Preschoolers: Pretend Play

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Creative Craft Ideas For Preschoolers: Imaginative Play

Photo of Kim, the author of Pretend Play: Crafts for Preschoolers.
Kim from The Happy Mommy is a stay at home mom who loves helping other moms with self care, fun crafts and activities. And that’s exactly why she’s written this post for Abrazo and Coze. You’ll find some really fun crafts for preschoolers and toddlers, which they can then use for a variety of pretend play scenarios.

I know my own children love pretend play. Monkey and Fang love to act out some of their daily routines (oddly, they especially love pretend nap time). They also love imagining being Mr. A or I, doing some of the things they see us doing (vacuuming, fixing things, etc.).

When Cat was a tot, she spent a lot of time pretending to be a kitty (there’s a reason for her nickname!), and would give me head butts and purr and meow and cuddle. And she enjoyed playing at being a hairdresser, and a fashion designer.

You can find even more of Kim’s kid craft ideas here.

Fun Crafts For Preschoolers: Pretend Play

Pretend play is the best learning play for kids. They get to be as creative as they want by just using their imaginations.

These fun pretend play crafts for preschoolers provide unlimited open-ended possibilities for imaginative play. These are just a few examples to get you started.

Pretend play helps with social, emotional and intellectual growth, according to the American Psychology Association. It helps kids learn how to interact with other people and helps them learn creativity throughout their adult life.

I remember I used to play house a lot with my friends and family members.

Playing school was a lot of fun as well: I would line up my stuffed animals and have them sit as I handed out papers and pretended I was writing ABCs on a chalkboard. I even pretended I was grading papers and talked about different assignments.

Oh to be young again and make fake food and have make believe tea parties!

1. Pipe Cleaner Bugs

Three pipe cleaner bug photos (butterfly, purple and yellow bug, and blue and yellow caterpillar), a product of this simple pretend play craft.
Photo Credit: Anna Anderson

Your child can pretend that they are an Entomologist and study insects. Who knows, maybe these pipe cleaner bugs will lead to a future career. Or, maybe they will simply lead to a love of nature or crafting.

Supplies

Bend and twirl the pipe cleaners to add shape, add pipe cleaner antennas and legs, and stick on googly eyes to make bugs. Use diffierent color combinations for even more fun. They can be as simple or as complex as your kiddos want.

Your children can get as creative as they want. This craft is so free-form, and allows your children to use their imaginations and ingenuity to make the craft, and then again while playing with their masterpieces.

2. Cardboard Camera

Five photos of the make a simple camera toy craft for pretend play. Top two are of a child using the finished camera in imaginative play. The bottom three show the supplies, the tube taped to the box, and the final decorated camera covered in pink construction paper, with a tin foil flash and black button on top.
Photo Credit: Anna Anderson

Go on an adventure! Have your child create a camera and take some pictures. Anna’s children had a lot of fun pretending to be portrait photographers, taking pictures of each other. While they’re at it, take some pictures of your littles to show them when they’re older. Find some tips for taking better photos with your smartphone for even better memory keepers.

Supplies

Wrap the box and outside of the tube in construction paper, or decorate as desired. Tape the tube to the box. tape or glue small rectangle of aluminum foil to corner for a flash. Add additional decorations with construction paper, washi tape, markers – whatever the kids like. Add a bit of paper or coloured tape on top for the shutter button. Tape or glue a bit of construction paper to the back to be the view finder. And voila! A cool toy camera.

Have your child draw pictures that they imagined they took. Did they visit a safari and capture lions, zebras, or hippos on film? Are they a party planner who took pictures of the party with balloons and decorations? It is so fun playing pretend!

The camera craft can easily be taken along  on car rides so is a great way to keep the littles busy and occupied while in the car! Bring it to the park, and let them snap pretend photos at all the wonders of the playground! So many ideas, and your kids will have such fun coming up with even more things to pretend play with their new camera.

3. Sponge Cakes

Fun and super simple sponge and felt cake craft being put together and played with in a series of 4 photos in a collage.
Photo credit: Anna Anderson

Let your child become a baker or cake decorator and make and decorate pretend cakes and pastries. Nothing sweeter than seeing a child use their imagination. The sky is the limit. Here is one example on how you can make a fake cake. Get creative!

Supplies

Use the sponges as cakes or pastries. Cut out a variety of shapes from the felt (or if you don’t want that hassel, get some that are precut) decorate with felt, add pompoms, and sprinkle with glitter. Let your little bakers use their creativity to make and decorate their imaginary treats.

When Anna had Monkey and Fang make these cakes, they discovered the felt naturally adheres to the synthetic sponge, so the kids can make them again and again, with a different style each time.

Pom poms, on the other hand, require glue if you want them to stick at all. (But if they’re just “sprinkles”, skip the glue and sprinkle away!)

4. Cardstock Mailbox

Why not become a postal carrier? Create your own mailbox and letters and with cute and creative envelopes. Get them a little bag to fill with paper and letters and your littles can deliver the mail.

Find the tutorial at Handmade Charlotte.

5. Paper Plate Farm Animals

Paper plate pig, cow, and sheep examples of fun pretend play crafts for preschoolers.
Photo credit: Anna Anderson

Time to take a trip to the farm! After creating some cute critters to go in their little farm, you can all pretend to be farmers. How many of your kids start singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm while they play with their paper plate animals?

The possibilities are endless to create their own farm animals. If you give your children a variety of supplies, see what they come up with. Ducks, donkeys, horses, chickens, cats, and more. What animals did your children create? Let me know in the comments below. To get them started, directions for super simple pig, cow, and sheep follow.

Supplies

Pig

Have your little farmers paint or color a paper plate pink (or whatever imaginary pig colors they prefer). Add the face and tail to it. If you want extra easy, simply cut out a snout, and glue on the centre of the plate, add a couple of pink ears, and some eyes, and you’re little farmers have a piggy.

Cow

Create a paper plate cow and create your own spots to glue on the cow. You can use construction paper or felt for the spots, or the kiddos can paint them on. Glue on a big round nose (remarkably similar to the pig’s nose) and some eyes. If they want, add some horns for their cattle ranch livestock. If not, a couple of floppy ears on the side of the head will work perfectly.

Sheep

Create a paper plate sheep by glueing cotton balls for wool. A simple black construction paper face with googly eyes completes the look.

Playing Is Kid’s Work

Pretend play is much more than just play. Children learn problem solving, speech development, and so much more.

Let their imaginations guide them and you will be amazed at the stories your littles will act out after making these creative craft ideas!

If your families love pretend play, consider starting a kids crafting club to share the fun and make new friends.

Do you pretend with your kids? Do your kids pretend with others? Tell me your stories in the comments below. I’d love to see your crafts – save an image to Pinterest, and then add your photo as a comment.

Pretend Play (block cap letters in teal centered at top) Fun Crafts (orange block letters) for preschoolers (teal text), all over a photo of a preschooler decorating a pretend play cake, made of pink sponge, with various felt shapes.
Spread the love and share with your friends. Or, love yourself and save it for later.

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Laura

I love those little pipe cleaner animals – they are so cute!!!

Carmela

I love these cute ideas! I am going to do the sponge cake with my kiddos.

Jessica Goodpaster

These are so cute! I love the camera idea. I need to try these soon with my daughter.

Kim

I’ll have to remember these ideas once the weather is too cold to play outside!