Imaginative pretend play is not one of my strong points yet the other day something magical happened. I gave my preschooler a pretend play prompt to introduce our new homeschool preschool science unit of bird watching. We spent the afternoon weaving a birds' nest!
I cut strips of brown and green paper to represent grass and twigs. I scattered them around the house and set up our baby gates to form a nest. My daughter E loved pretending she was the momma bird as she would collect the materials to bring back to the nest.
It was clear through this pretend play what she already knew about birds which will be our next science topic. She used her mouth to carry the paper, flapped her "wings" as she moved, and told me that I was the daddy bird who would help her build the nest. Observing her play and making mental notes of what she knew and was wondering about birds laid the foundation to allow me to plan the rest of our curriculum!
She went to work weaving the paper into the baby gate's holes to make our nest. The weaving required fine motor skills and concentration. Then she would "fly" off to gather more nest building materials!
The imaginative play scenario continued with Cowie being our baby bird! She fed our hatchling a cardboard tube worm. Dramatically, Cowie soon fell from our nest. E explained that our baby was learning to fly as she went to rescue her from the ground below our tree. Don't worry,
Cowie our baby bird is fine!
E found a ball to sit on as she pretended to hatch our second egg. She told me that a fox was coming to try to eat the egg so we'd have to squawk loudly to scare the predator away. I had no idea she had all of this scientifically accurate information and imagination tucked away which made the pretend play equally engaging for us both!
We will be adding lessons to our bird watching science unit so please make sure you are following our Science Pinterest board! I'll be creating more pretend play prompts for us both in the future, too.