Today Veronika and I had an adorable play session pretending we were at sea! I love that she’s old enough now (at just shy of 16 months) to combine imaginative play with toys and games.
First, I set the stage with lots of sea-themed objects. We had plastic whales, sharks, and fish, a toy boat, and a book with a fish on the cover as scenery. Later I even remembered to add a blue blanket on the ground for “water”.
If you don’t have any sea creature toys, just cut fish shapes from cardboard and color them in together first!
All we needed to set sail was an empty laundry basket. Veronika climbed aboard the ship, and I attached a jump rope as her ship’s line.
We “sailed” around the room singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, to her great delight. Another fun song goes like this:
A sailor went to sea, sea, sea
To see what she could see, see, see
and all that she could see, see, see
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea!
I added an empty paper towel tube to be her telescope.
We loved spotting fish. And whale watching!
Her fast favorite was a little green fish, which she swam all over the floor. You could even encourage older toddlers to get on the floor and pretend they are swimming.
The shark was the next big hit. After she learned to say “shark”, she had it jumping around and climbing on board the boat.
If anybody needs a rescue at sea, reel them in with your jump rope “line”.
In sum, don’t discount a 16 month old’s ability for imaginative play. That imagination is kicking in, right alongside the gross motor and fine motor skills.