Parenting

Pure Imagination

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The hubs and I are constantly amazed at our daughter’s imagination.  In the blink of an eye, she transports herself to a different world and can happily play there for hours.  We love to just sit back and watch her mind at work, although if she notices us watching she has a tendency to clam up and stop.  Every now and then though, she invites us into these worlds and in those moments it is obvious what is most important in life.

Bumblebee for the afternoon
Bumblebee for the afternoon

To her, the possibilities are truly endless.  If she wants to be a princess pirate hunting for buried treasure, she is.  And why not?  I made a point to pay attention this week to the people and places her mind took her to.  In this past week alone, she has:

  • Swam to mermaid cove after King Triton turned her into a mermaid
  • Used her shoes as beds to put her princesses to sleep (they are the perfect size after all)

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    Her bed for the night, obviously?
  • Prepared countless meals in her kitchen, gooseberry pie is a top choice (thank you, Snow White)
  • Dressed up as at least 4 different princesses
  • Performed in both a “rock star show” and a ballet recital

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    M getting ready to perform
  • Turned empty toy boxes into boats to escape the alligators in the water
  • Walked around with her agenunom, a word completely created in her mind but something that resembled a walking cane
  • Acted as a brave knight princess to save her little brother
  • Helped us navigate the roads as a Super Secret Spy
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Like Princess Merida, she practiced her bow and arrow.

It never ceases to amaze me the things she can come up with.

Somewhere along the way of growing up though, we tend to lose that gift of imagination.  That sense that anything really is possible.  Knowing this, I’m making it my responsibility to encourage this type of imaginative play as long as possible.  She won’t hear me say something isn’t possible.  Instead, I’ll encourage her to think outside the box to figure it out.

To do this, I’ve noticed the fewer distractions the better.  And by distractions, I mean toys.  We have way too many toys in our house, a sentiment I hear echoed by most moms.  I’ve realized my kids do better with less.  M has about 10 small princess dolls (Magiclips if you’re wondering) and a few castles that go with them – she spends more times playing with these than all her others toys combined.  She is almost always in one dress up outfit or another.  I’ve had to sew the straps back onto a few of the dresses because she literally wore through them.  And her kitchen, a big toy but one that leaves a lot of room for creativity was definitely Santa’s best gift a few years back.

Impromptu train races
Impromptu train races

Seeing her gravitate towards these toys that leave so much to the imagination inspires me to purge our playroom.  It’s something I’ve been telling the hubs I want to do for awhile but haven’t worked up the energy to do it.  My theory is that if I packed up 2/3 of the toys we have, no one would notice.  Maybe this summer I’ll finally follow through on it.

Imagination sparks curiosity and that curiosity is what propels you to be a lifelong learner.  If you want to do something, make it happen.  So for now, that may be escaping alligators on our couch but who knows what the future holds.  If I teach her to use her mind to create what she wants, anything really is possible.

As Willy Wonka reminds us…

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world, there’s nothing to it

There is no life I know
To compare with pure imagination
Living there, you’ll be free
If you truly wish to be

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