Tag Archives: child development

Where’s the Button?

Some of the Most Important Toys Run on Imagination, Not Batteries

2-year-old daughter offering her doll some tea

Our 2-year-old daughter lives in a time and place where every object is a gadget, where even every stuffed animal is expected to talk, sing, dance, light up or something. So when she picked up her colonial doll her Grandma brought from Colonial Williamsburg, she asked “Where’s the button?”

I told her there is no button, that the doll worked with her imagination. Then I said “Would you like to offer your doll some tea?” She was sitting at the table with the doll, so this only seemed natural. This clicked in right away, like a switch going off in our girl’s active mind. She got right down to pouring tea for her special guest and striking up an engaging conversation.

Moments like these are valuable as a dad when they remind me to mentally check in to be fully “in the moment” with my daughter and help her engage her most powerful developmental tool – her imagination.

When do you find yourself wandering to your “to-do list” or subjects other than engaging with your child? What are some moments where you and your child are reminded to engage your imaginations? What cues help you check in?

The Power of Pretend Play!

The Power of Pretend Play

My 2-year-old daughter’s sense of pretend play is really taking off! Last night, she went looking for the “beach” in our basement. After about 2 laps all over the basement she picked out a spot and decided it was the beach. So we laid down a “blanket” and I gave her “sunscreen” to put on, while I put some on myself. I offered her “sandwiches” and “pink lemonade” for a picnic. Even without any props to stand-in for all the imaginary objects, she was fully engaged in this pretend play for a very long time without losing interest.

We watched “airplanes” going by with ads trailing from the tails, like “Tonight: Jungle Gym Jam at the Stone Pony!” We saw colorful “kites” flying around and even flew one of our own. She kept asking for more “sunscreen” and kept re-applying it to her shirt and pants as if it were “beachwear.” We watched other beachgoers playing “baseball” and “volleyball” and joined in the fun.

When my little girl started to yawn, I pointed out how it was starting to get “dark” and what a beautiful “sunset” was over the water. Once the “sun” went down, it was time for “fireworks.” I gave her a “headset” so the fireworks wouldn’t be too loud. She put it on and watched all the dazzling colors burst (over our washing machine). Pink fireworks, green, blue, and gold all lighting up the “sky.” She was reaching out to catch the fireworks as they streaked down to the horizon.  Finally it was time to fold up the “blanket,” pack our things and go home to bed. After a bath and a change into pajamas, she drifted easily into sleep, aided by a little evening daydreaming with Daddy.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a mid-autumn evening in the “warm summer sun!” What are your stories of pretend play with a child in your life?