One of the virtues of being very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination.
- Sam Levenson
After dinner, Little Libra decided that it would be cool to hang out by the kitchen. So she aligned her mini chairs by the wall and started seating her “friends” one by one. Originally, it was just a party of four…
(Note: she styled all of this herself. I was merely the photographer.)
As I watched her sit in the company of her toys, I realized that she was talking to her Barbie about having no shoes while the others did but don’t worry we’re the same (no shoes, that is.) Then she got up and started adding to the party since there was still space.
Then it occurred to me. Doesn’t this…
…look like this scene from Toy Story 3?
Art DOES imitate life!
All I could see was how engaged Little Libra was in her own magical world. She was the hero, the princess, and the hostess in a world free of adults, and her toys were her loyal pals — just like Bonnie.
I know there will come a day when Little Libra will replace her plastic stuffed crew with a shriek-y barkada that shares a fanatical type interest in future Hannah Montana, future Twilight, future Justin Bieber, and Future I’m Too Old To Understand the Appeal. But as long as toys continue to be her story, I know she’s still a kid.
To end this post, I’d like to share some tips from Peter Emmenegger’s Nurturing the Playful Mind and my own little sound bites to push us along. Here’s to keeping our kids’ world brimming with their own magic!
- Limit or eliminate screen time: Give your children a chance to flex their own imaginative muscles. They may be bored at first. Be prepared with simple playthings and suggestions for make-believe play to inspire their inner creativity…Sometimes just start with how about [name of favorite toy]? Isn’t he hungry/thirsty/sleepy? Or for non-talkers, presenting a cereal box, a water bottle, a bell or any other seemingly unglamorous household item can work wonders!
- Curtail time spent in adult-organized activities: Children need time for self-initiated play. Over-scheduled lives leave little time for play…When it’s quiet and you’re not looking is when they’re at their best and most mischievious!
- Choose simple toys: A good toy is 10 percent toy and 90 percent child. The child’s imagination is the engine of healthy play. Simple toys and natural materials, like wood, boxes, balls, dolls, sand and clay invite children to create their own scenes – and then knock them down and start over…When I find myself getting aggravated with the mess, it means she’s having the time of her life!
- Encourage outdoor adventures: Reserve time for outdoor play where children can run, climb, find secret hiding places and dream up dramas. Natural materials – sticks, mud, water, rocks – are the raw materials of play…So this means letting them ruin the landscaping every now and then!
- Spend time watching your child play: This can show children that adults value their play. Fight the urge to control; allow your child to make the decisions, control the flow of the play and assign the roles. Only participate if invited… Stop tapping away at the computer and pull out your camera. Magic is happening!