Imaginative play and science are often disassociated and perceived as opposites.
However, most children can differentiate between pretend and reality during dramatic play. A child pretending to be a dog understands that they have not morphed. However, they still apply their knowledge of canines to demonstrate how dogs bark, walk and behave.
While science for young children should be mostly comprised of things they can observe and touch, there are some topics that are outside of their grasp. Imaginative play is a powerful tool for young children to learn and process information about fascinating yet difficult to observe topics, such as space.
Celebrate World Space Week and engage the imagination by playing a space interview game with your child. The game is simple and can be played anywhere. Here is what you need:
Space is infinite when it comes to what your child wants to learn about. Select topics that interest your child or propose new topics such as black holes, dwarf planets, comets, space travel, etc. From there, watch videos or read books to learn more about space. Follow the questions and the interests of your child and see where they take you.
After your space investigation, you and your child are ready to play! In this imaginative game, you take turns taking on the role of the interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewee pretends to be an object from space and answers the interviewer’s questions accordingly. The results are often hilarious, while also allowing your child to apply their knowledge of space.
Sample questions include:
‘Can you tell me a little about yourself?’
‘What do you like to do for fun?’
‘Who do you like to play with?’
‘Tell me something exciting you saw one day.’
‘What do you do every day?’
‘What do you want planets to know about you?’
Below is a transcript between a parent, Molly, and her five year old son, Isaac. Isaac loves to learn about planets, and in this interaction, he is pretending to be Venus.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am a planet. I am the second one from the sun, but I am not what you think.
What do you mean by that? Is there something surprising about you?
I am the hottest planet in the solar system. You’d think it would be Mercury but I win! Mercury is closer to the sun, but I am hotter.
Why is that?
I trap in the heat!
What is something exciting you saw today?
I saw Mercury and Earth because they are my neighbors.