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4 year old doesn't do small world/imaginative type play

(14 Posts)
EthelCardew Sat 10-Jan-15 17:08:38

My only DC is 4 and she has never really "played" much, especially by herself. Cars, fire engines and trains will entertain her for a while but mostly she loves art and crafts and "doing" toys like lego sets and science experiments rather than small world/imaginary/dress up. Anything that involves doing something with me and having something to show for it, she loves. Consequently, her kitchen, dressing up box and figures, happy land etc. are never really used.

I'm trying to find homes for all the Christmas presents and we definitely need to move some things out in order to do so! So I'm now stuck wondering whether I should be encouraging her to be more imaginative and play more with these things or to accept she's just not into it and get rid of them.

Do they tend to go back to these kinds of toys as they grow?

Will she turn out normal if she doesn't play like this? wink

I jest, of course, but it seems all her friends are really into it and she really isn't. She hates princesses and is suspicious of anything purportedly magic. It even took a lot of convincing for her to believe a jolly fat man was going to drop down our chimney with a bag full of presents! grin

fairylightsbackintheloft Sat 10-Jan-15 22:27:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

farmlass Sun 11-Jan-15 11:28:45

My daughter was exactly like this.her dbs very imaginative.she is now 16 and has always been active .it used to be a constant battle to get her to do anything by herself! Now though she is a great people person with amazing social skills.keep talking and listening the early years do go fast although I do remember some days lasting an eternity!

tumbletumble Sun 11-Jan-15 12:00:22

My DS1 (now 9) has never been keen on imaginative play. His brother and sister both are. He likes doing things (lego, sports, playing the piano, reading, computer games, board games). I don't think your DD will change tbh - it's just how she is.

EthelCardew Mon 12-Jan-15 15:52:19

Thanks for the replies.

farmlass That's good to hear! Yes, sometimes it's exhausting and I feel awful if I'm too tired or busy to play with her.

weebigmamma Mon 12-Jan-15 16:52:51

Mine did do dressing up but never ever played with dolls houses or dolls or cars or lego or anything like that. She would watch telly and reenact episodes of things with herself in the role, but she didn't ever 'play with toys'. She loved art and writing. She is now 10 and still loves art and writing and she plays imaginative games based on TV shows with her friends and still doesn't like 'toys'. I guess they're all different! My son is 9 months old and already loves all his toys! One thing I would say is do keep the toys for a while- they really do go back to stuff, even sometimes things that are 'too young' for them. If you have the space, hang on to it for a while longer.

weebigmamma Mon 12-Jan-15 16:54:38

And don't feel guilty about leaving her on her own to do things sometimes. they deserve a bit of space and there is evidence to suggest that it's good for children to 'be bored' sometimes. Leave a pile of books for her to sort through or a pile of paper to draw on.

EthelCardew Mon 12-Jan-15 18:01:15

Thanks weebigmamma She likes renacting and physically pretending to be characters and a cat etc so I guess that counts as imaginary play.

Ferguson Mon 12-Jan-15 18:40:03

Is she at school yet? And if so, how does she get on with other children? And are teachers happy with her progress?

Long-term art, crafts and Lego will valuable skills to have, and I expect she will get into the 'girlie' stuff in due course.

I often advocate children learning music, for the concentration, social aspects as well as the creative side. So a keyboard for next birthday might be a good investment: full size keys, 61 of them, and children can easily teach themselves at first from the many tutor books that are available. If you do consider it, haggle for a good price, or get additional stuff included - stand, headphones etc.

EthelCardew Tue 13-Jan-15 10:52:47

She isn't at school yet Furguson, she is 4 in a couple of weeks, but has been attending pre-school for 6 months. She's quite introverted and they say she is all on target learning-wise but she doesn't play that much with the others and she certainly doesn't run around in the playground, she sits and watches. I'm trying not to but can't help feeling a little worried that she might be having trouble making friends.

Funny you mention music as I was going to buy her a guitar for her birthday. Her dad plays and she loves it. She remembers and hums all the tunes he plays (including Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden etc!) and last night in the bath she even made her own solos up over the chords we could hear coming from the other room. We both want her to have some kind of music lesson as soon as it's viable and if she wants to, of course.

steppeinginto2015 Tue 13-Jan-15 11:08:51

I have 1 ds and 2 dds.
ds and dd2 both did massive amounts of imaginative play, dress ups and played by themselves.

dd1 though has never really played with toys. She has a room full, and she doesn't want me to get rid of any, but she is happy to have them to look at not play with. She loves cooking and arts and crafts, reading, and more recently drawing. She particularly loves doing anything WITH me. (age 2 she would come to the hairdressers and sit like a mouse in the corner while I had a haircut, because it was doing something with mummy.

I think it is a personality thing, she loves people (despite actually being quite quiet and reserved in public) and she prefers to do anything WITH someone else. So she will play for hours with Barbie WITH a friend, but never on her own. She also is a watcher from the sidelines. She doesn't have a big crowd of friends, but one or two close people. Ask who she wants to her birthday party and she will name 4 children and no more. Dh is an introvert and his ideal party would have about 4 people at it! (contrast to dd2 who would invite the whole school)

She is now a 9 and a good cook, has her own sewing machine etc.

She is also musical, does piano lessons and is learning the cornet with the local brass band. Piano was her preferred instrument, but she much prefers the band context to solo lessons, because, yes, you play WITH other people!

Ferguson Tue 13-Jan-15 19:04:42

I always think guitar is difficult for 'little ones', and so that they can get quick results I always suggest keyboard; and of course, they come with a host of guitar-type sounds. But obviously, with DH help guitar is a possibility.

EthelCardew Wed 14-Jan-15 10:22:36

steppeing She sounds very much like mine! DH and I are both introverts so it's no surprise really, I'm just worried about me passing the social anxiety on. I'm being brave though and we're holding her first birthday party in a couple of weeks with 6 children from pre-school invited (16 total OMG!) so hopefully she'll become better friends with some of them and I'll know the mums better too.

Ferguson I did wonder, but she enjoys strumming while her dad makes the chords on his guitar and yes, he would be able to teach her some simple tunes. She has a toy keyboard but obviously it's not great, and she plays tunes on the iPad keyboard app with the right key to play being highlighted but she seems more interested in the guitar at the moment. I will definitely get her a proper keyboard as soon as she's interested. I played as a child and loved it.

IDontWantToBuildASnowman Wed 14-Jan-15 14:57:07

My DD has never been interested in small world play. She is 6 now and insists on asking for barbies etc for Christmas, but I know she won't even look at them, she just thinks she should have them because friends do. She is much happier role playing with her brother, making up shows or taking on roles with each other, pirates etc. He on the other hand will spend ages setting up small world play (loves her dolls house that my parents bought her as a gift which is mainly used to drape her clothes over for the next day in her bedroom!) but is not massively interested in craft stuff which she loves. He will also prefer generally to do anything as long as its with mummy, even if that's something boring like loading the washing machine! Very sweet but infuriating at times when I just can't get on with things for almost stepping on him.

They are both very normal I think, just different and handily they complement each other very well.

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