Summer is in full swing around here. Right now as I’m putting this post together, I can hear my girls in the other room playing what we’ve dubbed the “And Pretend” game. It goes something like this:
Sister 1: “Pretend this area over here is the store where you can buy things like pickles and popsicles.”
Sister 2: “And pretend that you can only ride your bike there, except you also have to wear this scarf when you’re riding to protect you from the wind.”
Sister 1: “And pretend that this is my baby and she likes to ride on my bike too.”
Sister 2: “And pretend that we are having a party and everyone is going to come.”
Sister 1: “And pretend this is my secret hideout where I have my house, and yours is over there.”
This can literally go on for an hour or more. Sometimes I’ll go down and peek my head around the corner just to see how things are going. There are often piles of toys around the room, not being used as they were meant to be used when they were made or bought, but are instead being used as props to support whatever world they’ve created for themselves in that moment.
I don’t know about you, but my kids don’t really play with toys per se. I mean, they have puzzles and games and other “toys,” but they are hardly ever used according to their manufacturer-printed directions for more than about 10 minutes after they are gifted or received. Instead, they are dismantled, put together with other things, and made into something entirely different. A deck of cards from a board game? Money or secret messages. Dice or other small game pieces? Pretend food or jewels for the castle. My husband and I joke that we should start shopping at prop houses instead of toy stores for birthday gifts from now on. Seriously, give them a stack of paper, some tape, some paper clips, and some beads, and they will be busy for three hours making something you could never imagine.