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Pretend Play with an Easter Bunny (or any other doll or character!)

bunnies

A few years ago, I bought a cheap blow up Easter bunny from the Dollar Store. Frankly, the bunny was sooooooo terribly tacky, I thought that the parents of children I was seeing at the time might think I had finally lost it! More than one mom raised their eyebrows and asked, “Where did you get that?”

 

However…

 

their children were completely enamored with plastic bunny and were quite eager to play with me for long stretches of time using the activities below to work on lots of different goals. My $1 investment had paid off : )

 

Even if you’re not lucky enough to find a bunny as AWESOME as that one was, you can still use these ideas with any kind of bunny you already have to find. For the last couple of years, I’ve used several different stuffed bunnies because I end up giving them to toddlers who have a hard time parting with their new favorite toy at the end of a session! (I don’t like tearful good-byes. When I can prevent that, I do!)

 

The good news is… you don’t need an Easter bunny for these ideas to be successful. Try them with any kind of character or doll any time of year!

 

PRETEND PLAY WITH AN EASTER BUNNY

 

Materials: Gather a stuffed Easter bunny and familiar objects for “pretending” with the bunny. Suggestions are a blanket for putting the bunny to sleep, a hat for the bunny to wear, a cup and spoon for feeding the bunny, a toothbrush for brushing the bunny’s teeth, a pair of sunglasses for the bunny, etc…

How to Play and What to Say: Introduce the bunny with simple words such as, “Look! Here’s my bunny!” Perform a few simple actions with the bunny such as making him hop as you say, “Hop! Hop! Hop!” or “Run bunny!” while you move the bunny quickly across the floor. Give the child an opportunity to imitate those actions or follow a few simple directions with the bunny such as “Kiss the bunny” or “Pat the bunny.”

Introduce your other items one at a time to elicit early pretend play. For example, set out the cup and say, “Bunny is thirsty! He wants a drink. Give bunny a drink!” If the child doesn’t respond, model giving the bunny a drink from the cup. Add silly noises as you put the cup to the bunny’s mouth. Say something simple like, “Drink bunny! Drink!” Then slurp or exhale loudly after the drink. Encourage the child to repeat your actions and noises.

Present each item and perform a little play routine with the bunny. Keep your language simple and funny. Repeat the same actions several times before moving on to a new object.

Your goals will vary over time and from child to child. Initially, you may just want the child to attend to you and stay with you during play. The next goal would be imitating your actions with the objects. Next, you may have the child follow directions with each item such as, “Make the bunny sleep.” Lastly, you’ll work on having the child imitate the play sounds and simple words you say during play.

 

Laura

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