I love discovering all the new skills, talents and interests that Annabelle develops as she grows. Her most recent milestone is a blossoming love of imaginary play.

Annabelle loves her little friends such as HappyLand people, Dora, farm animals and small teddies like ‘Daddy’s monkey’! Recently she has begun ‘acting out’ familiar scenarios, events and interests using her little people.

It is fascinating to watch all the little details she remembers and how she expresses herself both vocally and with actions. A lot of her story telling uses actions, and I am pretty sure this is thanks to all the baby signing we did with her when she was younger. Annabelle had a fantastic vocabulary of signs long before she began to use spoken language, and would often make up her own signs by using an action to communicate. For example, her sign for ‘teddy’ was tilting her head and tucking a hand under her chin – just how she would cuddle her teddy.

Imaginary play

This picture shows Annabelle and Dora going on an imaginary train ride. This was before we went on the train to Manchester, when we first suggested the idea and talked about what happens on a train. She had a fascination with opening and closing the doors for people to get on and off, so she would bob down and pretend to sit on her seat, then open and close the doors before declaring “At Man’ester!” or “At ‘ome!”


When we got back from our recent trip to York, Annabelle relived the experience by treating all her little friends to boat trips and a stay in an “otel”.

Dora the explora's imaginary play

This photo might not look like much, but believe me there is a lot going on here! Dora is dressed in her nighty ready for going to sleep in the ‘otel bed. She is having a boat trip on the river, and she has her bag packed with some food and toys. After Dora’s boat trip, she walked back to the ‘otel and brushed her teeth before going to sleep!


My favourite scenario to watch is playground imaginary play. Annabelle loves to pretend that she is pushing her people on the swings (swinging her arms high in the air shouting “higher, faster!”), down the slide (crouching down and shouting “wheeee”!) or round the roundabout (spinning around shouting “round, round, round”!) Here is Dora and a Duplo girl having a go on the swings inside a cardboard box!

imaginary swings


These are the HappyLand gang getting ready for bed from our little moments post.

HappyLand bedtime

They all laid down for bed and Annabelle pretended to take their shoes off and gave them all pyjamas ready to go to sleep!

Annabelle is just beginning to discover the idea of role play by ‘being’ other people or things herself. Sometimes she will wear Dave’s ID badge or sit in his space of the sofa and tell us “Annabelle’s being Daddy!” or sometimes out of the blue “Being a tiger now, rah!” I am looking forward to see where the possibilities of imaginary play can take us!

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