A Mindful Pretend Play Idea: A Case of the Stinky Foot

This is for the parents who often don’t really know how to pretend play with your kids. Most of us parents are better are playing games, reading books, snuggling up for a movie together, and pretend play feels so foreign. Trust me, I get it. My pretend play comes in spurts where I try to lob one up and hit it out to the kids to run with.

My kids always seem to ramp up at bath and bedtime, so this pretend play idea incorporates a little breath work and mindfulness to help kid(s) calm down, sleep a little better and work on a little mind/body awareness.

Tonight in the bathtub, pretend they have a case of The Stinky Foot.

Grab any little doctor toys you have (or anything) and draw up a warm bubble bath. Fill the bath only to the point where they can keep their head up out of the water comfortably but their body is submerged in the warm water. Make sure you have some soap on hand, because you’re pretty much just going to lather up and massage their feet while they lay down.

Have “the patient” take deep breaths as they get their foot “operated on.” This is doctors orders!

Here’s where you connect through play, so let this part be fluid.

You want to try and be a little more playful than usual, but still stick within your personality so it feels genuine to your kid(s). These little minds are picking up on genuine vs. fake behaviors at a really young age so make sure you give off genuine feels.

Play ideas:

  • Scrub in between each toe to make sure all the sneaky toe fuzzies don’t get trapped and stay stinky.
  • Periodically smell their feet and pretend it’s still stinky so you’ll need more soap and deeper breaths. Kids love it when you make facial reactions or pretend fall down to make it extra dramatic.
  • Use the little doctor toys you have to check their heartbeat; it’s fun when their heart sounds like fun music.
  • If you have 2 in the bath together, let them take turns being the doctors and patients.

This is also a perfect opportunity to talk about health and that health is a full mind, body, spirit connection:

  • Scrub up the legs and wash their whole body to make sure the whole Case of the Stinky Foot is treated.
  • Talk about healthy foods and that eating more fruits and vegetable will help cure their case.
  • When they get out, give them a sip of water as the final remedy of the Stinky Foot.
  • Reiterate that it’s doctors orders to continue staying calm and taking deep breaths, as that is the ultimate cure for The Stinky Foot.

Talking about healthy foods through play might not get them to eat new foods right away, but the consistent conversations around healthy foods and how that affects how they feel (getting sick and feeling happy) will sink in over time and they’ll be more likely to try new foods or start actually liking some foods you offer them often that they usually avoid.

This creates a pretend play environment where everyone truly wins – and your kids will absolutely love it.

Have fun and let me know how it goes! Leave a comment on the blog or find me on Instagram or TikTok @tinyhumanprintco

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