Calling all parents! Do you have a few scarves in your dresser drawer? Bring them out and create some pretend play for you and your child. Bandanas and cloth napkins could work as well. You can set the scene with music if you wish for added fun. It’s amazing how much fun this common prop can bring. This activity will enhance and develop skills such as gross motor (large muscles), rhythm, color identification, language, and social skills.
Begin by finding a space where you and your child can move. Place the scarves on the floor and see if you child will take one and create a scene. If anything, the first notion would be playing peek-a-boo, by hiding behind the scarf. Talk about the colors and patterns in the scarf – this is a good way to practice color recognition. Put on some music and let the fun begin. Begin scarf dancing by floating the fabric gently to soft music and then continue to move in different ways as the tempos change.
The other concept with scarves is to let the fabric become a simple costume that transforms your child into a special character. Here are five ideas to try.
Become a Fairy or Ballerina
For this costume prop, place the scarf flat against your back. Reach back and grasp the two corners, one in each hand. Raise the arms and dance on tiptoe to light running music. Try music like “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” by Tchaikovsky in the Nutcracker Suite.
Gather the scarf at the middle. Pin the gathered middle to the center back of the child’s shirt with a safety pin. Or you can also use a small clothespin. Let the child hold the top two corners of the scarf, one in each hand, and float like a butterfly to ethereal music. An example would be “Canon in D” by Pachelbel.
Kings, Queens, and Superheroes
Children love to pretend they are royalty. Place the scarf flat against the child’s back. Bring the top two corners around the neck and tie them loosely to form the king or queen’s regal robe. A construction paper crown adds to the effect as the child stands tall and walks proudly to the royal music. Use “Pomp and Circumstance” by Elgar.
Use the same process above to make a superhero robe and have the children pretend to fly and do good deeds to the soundtracks of “Superman”, “Spiderman” or “Batman.”
Cowboy or Cowgirl
Yippee! Ride ’em cowboy! Grab a scarf and fold it diagonally, then tie it around the neck loosely like a bandanna. Let the children pretend to ride galloping horses or slow donkeys on a trail. Try playing the “William Tell Overture” by Rossini or the “Grand Canyon Suite” by Grofe.
Those Falling Leaves
As autumn approaches and the leaves begin to fall to the ground, have the children act out this process. Hold the scarf by the two corners as it lies on the child’s back. Pretend to float in the wind letting the scarf billow behind you. The scarf can also be held in front of the body as the leaves swirl around and fall to the ground. The classic song “Autumn Leaves” is fitting for this activity.
After trying these 5 ways children can use scarves as props, kids will think of more creative ways to use the scarves in imaginary play. How could they make a ballet skirt? How would the dancer move? How would a giant move, and what would he wear? The possibilities are as unlimited as the child’s imagination and their ability to believe in a scarf’s magic.
Please Note: Scarves and other long fabric items can become a tripping and strangulation hazard. Make sure your child is supervised at all times with these items.