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November 05, 2004

Imaginative Play

Watching children play is one of the most enjoyable experiences. Recently I overheard a teacher say, "Kids don't play imaginatively like they used to." Well mine do.

When Harrison is at school Emma is content to play with Barbies and Ponies for hours. She has a running commentary of where they are going "Okay everyone today we are going to the fair or museum or library or grocery store." This is followed by much singing with made up words and lots of Do RE Mis. When they arrive at the fair (under the piano bench a conversation ensues:
Big rainbow pony: Sweetie, no more Halloween candy for you.
Little pink pony: Oh Mommy pleeeeaaaase!
Big rainbow pony: I think you've had enough for one day.


Harrison loves to build with Lincoln logs, legos or imaginext and then act out an adventure.

I also loved building, especially my erector set, and pretending as a child. My sister Karen and I loved to play Noah's Ark. We would rescue all of our stuffed animals from the flood by loading them into a laundy basket configured over our staircase with a rope pulley. I have passed this game on to my children substituting their bunk beds for the staircase.

Please share the favorite games and toys from your childhood or your children.

Posted by jennifer at November 5, 2004 03:01 PM


when i was little, my girl cousins and i (and Andrew and i, too) loved playing in the woods. we would go down to the creek and play in the mud and trapse around in the water, and us girls would often play house and sing songs to our (imaginary) lovers. and the favourite game that all of us would play at Brenneman's was "blizzard." we would move all the dolls and miniature kitchen stuff out onto the porch and pretend that we were buried in snow (which we would learn to despise as soon as we moved to Goshen...). it was a blast- we were also pretty imaginative!

Posted by: Jennifer Lyn at November 5, 2004 08:05 PM

We had an old discarded wood cook stove behind the garage under the cherry tree, it was my favorite play kitchen for a while. One year I picked green beens and "canned" them, I remember how stinky they were when I finally threw them away. I also liked to imagine the front porch was my very own house and play there. Jr Hi years were spent in the woods with Karen and Lois trapsing, Judy got to come if she carried my books home. I was practice being in charge I guess. I remember giving the trees and certain places names. There were forget me nots behind the pond.

Posted by: Carolyn Joyce at November 6, 2004 03:42 PM

I say the best thing you can do to foster imaginative play is to read to a child, or to encourage them to read on their own. And don't let them watch television. Much. (Unless it's classic cartoons or serial cliffhangers or science fiction.)

Posted by: John David at November 6, 2004 05:05 PM

Yep, Carolyn and neighbor Lois, get me to carry ALL of their books home from school (.5 mile or so). I got to play with them in the woods if I did that. We liked to play in the old 'Clymouth' car. Carolyn and Lois (and/or Karen) got to choose where I sat and what I did. They had a lot of power over me, since I was the little Turd Curl sister.

Posted by: Judy Turd Curls at November 7, 2004 07:19 AM

One of my fond memories is playing in the sandbox. It was more of a sandpile under a large pear tree. It did not have well defined boundries, so we had both sand and dirt roads. When the sand became too dirty, a trailer load of sand from the "pit" behind the tile factory was added. Our store bought toys shared the highway with those we made from wood.

Posted by: GrandpaG at November 7, 2004 09:11 PM

My older sister and I used to play "Alligator" on my parent's 4-poster bed. The carpet was blueish/green and served as the river. The bed was the boat. We used to hurl ourselves off of the boat, grab on to one of the posts and swing around back on the boat while the alligators snapped their jaws at our backsides. That game was great, until I missed the post and cracked my head open on the corner of the bed--then the darn alligators attacked me! It was a rough day.

Posted by: mac at November 8, 2004 09:18 AM

Poor Mac!!!

Posted by: Judy at November 8, 2004 11:13 AM