Stimulating the imagination

Hand games

Hold up your pointer finger and have a pretend lasso in the other hand. Make the action of lassoing the finger, then pull on the end of the pretend rope and make your finger bend accordingly. Pull it up, down, over your head, around your neck, under the table and so on. Now hand the end of the pretend rope to your child and let them tug it gently, or say it has come undone and you have to tie it on again.

Stories

You or your child start up a story and take turns in adding to it, as in this example between Jenny, who starts the story, and her mother.

Once there was a witch.

And her name was?

Vera was the witch.

And she had two pockets in her britches.

She had itching powder in one and a frog in the other.

In another story starter, you use the name of the child and their best friend — for example: ‘One day, Lewis and Rohan were going for a walk and they came across a box left in the middle of the road…’

Make the stories ridiculous, hilarious, scary, surprising or problem-solving; the aim is to have fun together.

Or you can set the story in familiar surroundings — for example: ‘One Sunday morning, Dad went outside and saw our old blue pram rocking and shaking, and when he went to look in it he saw…’