Attempting to keep a child entertained and engaged can be difficult, and pricy. It is also plays a vital role in both bonding and your child’s cognitive development. Thankfully, there are ways to do this that are both inexpensive, and fun! Felt is an cheap fiber that is completely versatile. One of it's most common usages is making great looking fake food! However, there are plenty of alternatives to making them yourself if your not a arts and crafts buff. This is one of the most affordable and genuine looking felt food stores on the web, http://www.etsy.com/shop/carmencreatives . The opportunities for imaginative play with felt food are boundless!
Think about it, you and your child can take on so many different rolls together! They could be a pizza chef, a sweets merchant, pretend to give food to the homeless, so many different options become available. There are also many alternatives to buying anything with imaginative play. Building forts with your kids, setting up a fake car wash, adding a fun twist to gardening with them. All of these options can greatly benefit you and your children's relationship. Earlier I mentioned that imaginative play has cognitive benefits to the child, a good bit of reading supporting this can be found here, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beautiful-minds/201203/the-need-pretend-play-in-child-development.
If you do not wish to read the entire article, I will briefly summarize it. Studies have shown that imaginative play (especially in the ages of two and a half to six) have cognitive benefits such as greater language usage, like subjunctives, past and future tenses and adjectives. It has also been proven to help the childs self-regulation (including reduced aggression, delay of gratification, civility and even empathy!) With all of these clear benefits, it's quite easy to see that imaginative play is curcial to the development of children, and on top of all of that, it's fun and bonds the child and parent together! Thanks for reading.