Monday, August 27, 2012

Building Imaginative Play Skills with a Stuffed Animal Birthday Party

Written by Vicky from
for ages 2 and up with Adult Participation & Supervision

Who doesn't love a party? My twins turned 4 this month and were in full birthday party planning mode all summer. So they were very excited to receive the Melissa and Doug Bake & Decorate Cupcake Set. This set allows children to decorate the plastic tops of wooden cupcakes using markers that look like icing tubes. The set also comes with cupcake wrappers, candles that stick on top of the cupcakes, and an oven mitt. The cupcakes can be decorated over and over because the marker can be wiped off the cupcake top with a napkin or baby wipe.

We were inspired to incorporate pretend play and a birthday party. As you know, any birthday party requires planning, even those of the pretend variety. So before bed one night, we starting decorating our cupcakes. We talked about the various colors of cupcake tops and icings and managed to work in a quick review of colors. 
melissa and doug bake and decorate cupcake set

You'll see that each child had a different philosophy of cupcake decorating. My two year old decorated in a scribble motion.

One of my twins took quite a while filling in every inch of the cupcake top.

The other twin loves to draw, and so she made a person in the snow on her cupcake.


When the kids finished decorating the cupcakes, they put them in the tray and then it was time to bake them. My daughter holds the tray using her potholder. Such a careful kid!

The kids woke up the next morning talking about the pretend birthday party. One of the twins insisted that we make invitations. That led into a discussion of who we should invite to the party. We decided to invite some animal friends. We got to working on our invitations using white copy paper and crayons. I helped a little by writing "You're Invited" on some paper that I folded in half and the kids did the rest.

Next we brought the invitations downstairs to mail them. I didn't want to litter the outgoing mail with our invitations, so we just put them in our mailbox. The girls were just giddy and felt so important as they "mailed" their invitations to some animal friends.

A short while later we had a visit from some animal friends. Some Princess Soft Toys and stuffed animals from Melissa & Doug arrived ready to party. You can see Pumpkin Tabby Cat, Bumpkins the Lamb, a Bichon Frise, and Mother and Baby Teddy Bears waiting at the door. They may have had a little help ringing the bell.

The kids were delighted to meet their new animal friends!

They brought them inside, sat them on the floor and started serving their guests. Some paper plates added to the imaginative play.

My two year old even practiced her language skills as she served the cupcakes. "This one is for you."

The kids decided it should be their birthdays. We sat down and sang "Happy Birthday!"

Now blow out those candles!

Time to eat!

The girls fed their animal friends some cupcakes and continued interacting with them. "Are you full or do you want more cupcakes?"

What's great about exploring imaginative play with your kids is that it gives them a model they can go back to later and make their own. A few hours later, while I was folding laundry, I noticed the kids had assembled at the table and staged an impromptu birthday party complete with singing. I was so excited to see them doing this on their own without any direction from me. The Melissa & Doug Bake & Decorate Cupcake Set and the stuffed animals were great toys for inspiring imaginative play and developing speech and conversation skills.

Vicky Perreault is a busy mom to three kids - 3 year old twins and a 2 year old. She believes that kids learn best through play and hands on activities. As a former teacher, Vicky finds great joy in facilitating learning and play experiences for her children and sharing those ideas with other parents on her blog Mess For Less.
and add small pic to the left


tammy said...

looks like a lot of fun for the kids

Amy V said...

what a cute idea! i just love those adorable cupcakes too!! my daughter woud've enjoyed this when she was little.

PhyllisGee said...

Tea party cup cakes set the stage for such sweet playtime.

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