My 17-month old, like most toddlers, I’m sure, is fascinated by “big kid” toys. So when my in-laws walked in with a Princess Palace playset, I knew she would be very interested. According to the ages listed, she is a little young for the toy, but since she saw it she was all ready to play. I pulled out the pieces that were unsafe for her (too small) and figured we would play for a few minutes and then I would quietly sneak the palace to the closet until she was a little older.
However, once we started playing, I realized that she was not too young to enjoy this toy. She’s not quite ready for this type of imaginative play, but we found plenty to do and lots of learning opportunities as well! This is a fabulous tool for language development as well as practice following simple instructions. The same ideas would work great with any dollhouse, farm yard, or any other “small world” type of play set. Check out some of the fun ways we play!
– Up and Down. By far the favorite game, she loves “walking” the prince and princess up and down the stairs. I’ll say “up, up, up, up, up” and “down, down, down, down, down” as she moves them up the stairs. (Confession: I usually sing up and down the scale instead of speaking!) Eventually she’ll start repeating her own versions of those words. I catch her doing this game without me all the time!
– In and Out/Open and Closed. It’s great for opposites! We open and close doors and put the characters or furniture in and out of the doors.
– Following simple instructions. “Can you put the princess in the chair?” “Let’s walk the horse up the stairs.” She will find the items and follow simple instructions I provide as we play.
– Shapes and Colors. This isn’t so much an activity, but something we talk about as we are playing. We talk about the colors and shapes of the items we’re playing with. Most of this is just language exposure, but she is beginning to pick up some of these ideas.
– Simple imaginative play. We are just really starting to get into the world of imaginative play. Feeding babies and pretend eating are the biggest ways we do this on a regular basis. She likes to have the princess sit at the table and then signs “eat” and pretends she’s eating. She also walks the horse to his “plate” (trough) and pretends he’s eating – sound effects and all! She also puts the princess “night-night” and tells me to “shhhhh – sleeping”.
I’m so glad I didn’t put this into the closet for a later date. It is her current favorite toy and a great way for us to play together.
Written by Alicia