The importance of imaginary and creative play

We’ve been lucky enough to spend a few days with our children by the sea. I sat on the sand tonight by a beachside restaurant listening to my children describe the sunset as a “rainbow of colours”, and I marvelled at their creativity.

They spent the evening building a stone “castle”, digging in the seabed for “cement” (wet sand) and carrying an endless supply of rocks and stones to build their fortress.


They found a stick to place in the top and used their brother’s striped shirt (removed earlier on to prevent him ruining it with tomato pasta) as a flag.

Embrace the fun and learning in creative play

sea seaside fun beach outdoor healthy play kids activities children siblings creative imagination sandcastle fresh air

Then they gathered shells and sticks, seaweed and straws, and began to build a miniature village. We had to gather up their collection of finds and bring it all home at bedtime, but we will start on the village once again tomorrow.

We’ve collected stones, categorised them by colours, patterns, size, and sparkles, and created a stone shop. We’ve dug rock pools half way to Australia. And that’s not to mention all the fun and games splashing in the sea.

Sometimes working together in a team, sometimes focused on their own activities, they’ve spent these days playing and inventing. And as I sat there tonight it struck me that the creativity of a child is so precious and pure, and we would do well to learn from it… to marvel at how wondrous our surroundings are; to find adventure in the simplest things; not to be too sensible. We should jump into their world with two feet.

The importance of role-play with children

treasure hunt role play outdoor games fun activities for kids scavenger hunt imagination creative play

But let’s be honest…. it’s not always easy to lose yourself like this.  And thinking about all of this reminded me that it’s been a while since I’ve played a role-play Gotrovo with my children: where the treasure hunt ventures through imagined lands, created and embellished by the child, using the ten role-play clue cards included in the pack.

It’s a magical way to connect with your child’s imagination, but it takes a loss of adult self-control and self-consciousness to do it. Even as its creators, this imaginative play is a facet of the game we sometimes overlook, but it’s such an important aspect and one we very much wanted to make a part of Gotrovo.

But why was including a role-play treasure hunt so important to us?

Studies show that creative experiences can help children express and cope with their feelings. A child’s creative activity can help the adults around them, be that parents or teachers, learn what the child may be thinking or feeling. This type of play also supports mental development in children by allow them to try out new ideas, and new ways of thinking, working together and solving problems. In letting children express themselves creatively, we allow them to explore their similarities and differences, and accept that each of these is worthwile.

So here’s my plea: don’t “put away childish things”, as the poem says ….embrace them.  Take a leap into their imaginations, join them in their creative play, and allow them, and yourselves, the freedom to explore new worlds and ideas. The simple things really are the best.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *