Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Imagination and Pretend

I loved making up games growing up. As kids in California my best friends and I would play BFG:ButterFly Girls. We would run all over our backyards and the nearby playground pretending we had wings when we were up in the sky and when we came to earth our wings magically transformed into cloaks so we could blend in. I was very disappointed when I moved to Texas and all the girls in that area were "too grown up" for imaginary play. Or at least the girls my age, so I played with kids a couple of years younger.

Fast forward a bunch of years. My kids play pretend games all the time. They find a place a window at the playground and suddenly they're the guy at the drive through. Or a short order cook. They run all over the playscapes fighting off "bad guys." In the pool they're drowning and someone needs to rescue them. It's wonderfully fun to watch.

Part of why I think they play like this so much is because I haven't been hyper nervous about what they do. I believe that TV has its place, not a central place, but there is things to be gained from watching it(and not just PBS). After watching Scooby Doo for a while they incorporated fighting monsters into their play. Edited to add: I was thinking that over and felt like it came off as people who don't let their kids watch TV are crazy and I have the best solutions. That is not my intent at all, more I think that some TV shows can add to your kids imagination because it gives them new ideas to add into their play. I get frustrated by parenting blogs where it feels like the person is on a high horse and thinks everyone else is wrong. So, I try not to do that too much here.....

We read lots of books. Both of their parents are bookworms, and we don't just read books. We also get them magazines and comics. They LOVE superheroes, and there is a comic with the Justice League that is aimed at preschoolers. They've devoured them, I think quite literally.

I also think playing with older kids helps enhance their imagination. They get to see more complex ideas for play and my kids have seen that.

As to what we have in our house to help with this:

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Costume Box- I scour the after Halloween sales for costumes my kids would like. I also make some. I made my boys a couple of sets of knight armor. I've made more capes than I can count. It simple cut a cape shape out of a knit fabric or felt or fleece, and iron on velcro. That easy.

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Play kitchen- this is honestly a great investment for any parent, with lots of play food. If you don't have enough playfood they will make anything into that. My kids have brought me a "plate" full of train tracks and said, "Here's your soup Mommy." Yummm.....

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Legos- I've just moved my kids up to the little ones, we're donating the Duplos to my Mom's house. This is one area where you don't want to buy the offbrand, with the possible exception of Mega Block. My kids will all sit and play for hours with these. I'm actually going to put a post together later about this. I'll admit each kid has their own thing. Mine never really played with blocks, but Legos........

See more great picnic talk posts at ABC and 123
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