How We Are Inspiring Imaginative Play at Home

girl playing with Barbies

When my older two were little, tech products were just starting to pop up more for kids. It was an exciting time because they still had classic non-tech toys and some new tech ones to play with. It felt like the perfect mix. Fast forward a few years and things have changed a bunch. The mix of imaginative play toys and tech toys seemed a bit skewed to us so Pete and I had a sit-down talk about it.



We love tech heavy toys because we want to prepare our kids in the tech heavy work they will be living in, but we also know that the benefits for inspiring good imaginative play are vast and far reaching. We know that imaginative play leads to creative play and that all is how today’s kids become tomorrow’s disease curers. That is how those that lead our future and solve modern problems get the inspiration to do so and to think outside the box.

We felt we were doing a good job encouraging Emmy’s imagination, but we decided to do even more.

Here is how we are inspiring imaginative play at home:

1. We try to stay away from leading her when she is making decisions, things like what to play with and where. Instead we offer different options and help her decide what she wants to do with open ended questions.

2. We offer toys that we know she can grow with and that won’t stop her creative mind from thinking “what now?” When I was younger I had a Barbie® Dreamhouse™ that the neighborhood friends and I played with all the time. We acted out so many real life stories in it and had hours of fun. I remember when one of our neighbors moved in we pretended the same thing was happening with Barbie® by moving the house to a new room!

Much like I remembered it, the Barbie® Dreamhouse™ is a three story house with real-world inspired modern details/aesthetic, including many rooms, furniture, classic house details, and additional piececount for core house play. There are seven rooms for the kids to explore and create story lines in.  A kitchen, bathroom, dining room, bedroom (with a walk-in closet), living room, new dedicated pet room, and the new Garage/Bonus Play Room atrium window converts into a swimming pool. I thought it was adorable when Emmy used the garage as the stall for her horse and the pool as his watering pond. Emmy even threw a party for her friends with the light up fish tank! 

4. We give her ample free time. In a world where so much of our life is scheduled we try to always make sure that she has more than enough time to do whatever makes her happy. 

5. We take real life interests of hers and scale it down for her to explore them more in a safe way. Emmy has always shown an interest in horseback riding so getting her a Barbie® Saddle ‘N Ride Horse™ to play with was the next natural stop.

Barbie® Saddle ‘N Ride Horse™ is what Pete and I would consider the perfect combination of classic toy meets tech boost. I remember having a horse when I was younger but it wasn’t this cool. When Barbie is ready for a ride with her horse you just push the simple activation, and Barbie swings up on her horse’s back!  Then the horse immediately starts walking on her own. Seriously so cool! Emmy and I both just sat there for a few minutes watching!

6. We make sure her toys are both small and large. We want her imagination to run wild and we want her to have all sorts of inspiration.

You can create your own imaginative play in your home with these Mattel products available at Walmart, Target, Amazon, and Toys “R” Us.

How do you inspire imaginative play for your kids?


Heather Delaney Reese from It's a Lovely Life is an inspirational storyteller and lifestyle writer who loves food, travel, So Cal, tech, Disney & family adventures! 

Image courtesy of the author

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