Engaging in doll play : at the seaside

One way to encourage doll play is to incorporate their doll into the activity you are doing – after all they are an important member of the family! Today I want to share a few ideas around the theme of the seaside and a free download on how to make a paper hat and boat.

1. A trip to the beach : role play

Role play is a great way to involve the whole body and really immerse yourself in the world of magic. Although a trip to the real beach might not be possible at the moment, we can still go there in our imaginations.

How we played
We packed a bag with the important things we would need – including their dolls dressed for the sun and a couple of books to read – and got ready for the journey in the car (we sat on the sofa). When we got there we popped our swimsuits on and headed straight into the sea (paddling pool). Afterwards we ate an ice cream and read our books and then made paper hats. At this point I stepped back and watched as they continued to play in the sandpit looking for seashells I had hidden in there.

Packing the essentials – including dolly!
Sandpits are a great way to pretend you are at the beach – why not hide some sea shells in there for them to find?

2. A trip to the beach : small world play

Small world play is perfect for a raining day. In this type of play your child can control a situation and try out different scenarios. Interestingly it’s also the type of play my daughters are most likely to squabble over – fighting for the most control maybe?

How we played
I find the best way to facilitate this type of play is to set up what is called ‘an invitation to play’. This is when you set up a beautiful scene and let them loose to play and in our eyes ‘ruin’ the perfectly arranged scene. Please take care with setting an age appropriate scene, supervise at all times and only use objects which are right for your child – we don’t want anyone choking on seashells!

As we were using cloth dolls I set up with blue wool felt for the sea, and sandpaper for the sand. We made paper boats for the dolls to sail in and laid out driftwood and shells on the ‘beach’. I have an old mobile phone holder that looked like a deckchair, so one of the dolls made himself comfortable in there. We also used a cocktail umbrella as a parasol but be careful as these have a sharp end which I removed. You will be amazed how much play will come from these simple objects.

Alternatively this idea would work well with water play – using plastic figures – and the paper boats will float!

Setting sail in a large boat
Resting on the beach

3. A trip to the beach : craft time

This craft ties in wonderfully with the above ideas – make a simple paper hat and a paper boat. Please just click the download below and you’ll have clear instuctions to follow.

They can make smaller hats for their beloved dolls and teddies
All aboard the HMS Papiér

I hope that inspires you to make some time for doll play today – please tag me in your adventures – @polly_had_a_dolly on Instagram!

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