Play Time – Imaginative Play
My kids are 21, 5, 3, and 1 years old. I know… it’s crazy!
After having 4 kids it has amazed me how different they each are and it’s fun discovering their passions.
Now that I’m knee-deep in toys with my fourth little one, I’m trying to get a grip on the toys we have and decide which toys are necessary and which toys are not. I’m also trying to determine what we may be lacking. I know… it doesn’t seem possible but bear with me here…
My oldest son loved his Matchbox cars. One in particular. A shiny green Corvette. I put more miles on my real car than I care to admit trying to find another green Corvette when he lost the one he coveted and couldn’t sleep without. Some kids sleep with a favorite “blankie” or a stuffed animal. Not my son. He couldn’t sleep unless he was tightly clutching his green Corvette. Amazon Prime didn’t exist back then (the World Wide Web didn’t even exist!) Can you imagine? I don’t know how I would survive parenthood without either now. I eventually found a replacement car (5 of them) after searching the tri-state area and Canada… I bought all 5. Desperate times… desperate measures.
What I have found over the years is that you can never have too many blocks (the bigger the tower you can build) or too many Hotwheels/Matchbox cars (the bigger the car shows, the cooler the races, and less fighting because vehicles aren’t limited.) Pinterest has some really cute storage ideas for the little cars and they really don’t take up much space to begin with.
My second son would rather you build the towers that he can knock down or shoot with a Nerf gun. He wasn’t a big fan of imaginative play. But, give him a remote control car and he’ll drive circles around you. Introduce him to a new video game and he’ll have it beat in a couple of days (or less depending on how long we allow him to play). Looking back, I feel bad that I didn’t foster imaginative play. I wasn’t really sure how. We’d buy him toys and sit him down with them and that’s about as good as it got. It could have just been his personality. He just wasn’t interested in that type of play (until recently).
My third son loves to use his imagination. It’s so fun to watch him and listen to him play. He loves stuffed animals and action figures. He gives them their own voices and loses himself in the little world that he has created. He also loves building with blocks. (He’s still too little for small Legos) We’ve invested in a couple sets of Mega Blocks and will probably purchase more for Christmas. *Helpful tip, Kohls sells Mega Blocks online at 50% off on Black Friday (at least for the last 4 years). He also LOVES toy food. He will “cook” almost all day long and thanks to YouTube he has discovered the Melissa & Doug wooden foods that you can “cut”. I had been buying the sets from Joann’s when I’d get my 50% off coupons. But their selection is minimal and with the help of Swagbucks, I’m cashing in for Amazon gift cards and putting sets away for Christmas.
You can’t beat Amazon’s selection!
And with Amazon Prime, you a.) Don’t have to leave your house and b.) don’t have to pay for shipping.
Our now one year old daughter will follow my youngest son and imitate everything he does. She knocks down his towers but LOVES to “cook” with him and cut and “rebuild” the wooden foods.She loves her “babies” and I’m gearing up for future tea parties and playing dress up!
All three of my younger kids have started spending hours with the toy food since I moved their little Step 2 kitchen into the living room. Even my oldest thinks it’s cool when he comes over to visit. They didn’t have toy food like this when he was growing up. They all play (and sometimes fight) but they collectively use their imaginations.
I guess my second son just needed a couple of siblings to spark his imagination. LOL!
My youngest 2 are actually playing with the toy food while I write this post.
My husband and I have “argued” over replacing the plastic kitchen the kids already have with a retro wooden version I’ve found online. But to aid in my argument, the plastic kitchen, although durable and cute (as well as space-saving) the toy cookie sheet and most of their foods don’t fit in the oven or the refrigerator. Although it’s great for playing there is absolutely no place to store their foods/plates/pots/pans utensils. And the boys have out grown it. A bigger set of appliances serves three purposes; it will continue to foster their imaginative play, it will double as storage, and will give them several more years of fun! There really isn’t an argument to be had.
With 91 days until Christmas, my plan is to cash in my Swagbucks and purchase the Melissa & Doug Grocery Store, sets we don’t already have, and a new kitchen that will accommodate their growing toy food collection and will actually fit their pots, pans, and baking sets. I will almost guarantee you that my husband won’t agree with this plan but I’m having fun playing too so…
Not only is the Melissa & Doug Market Place adorable, it will store most of the kid’s fruits and vegetables AND the sign is REVERSIBLE!!! If you flip it over, it’s a Lemonade Stand!!!
I’d love to hear what your kids like to play with most. Do they enjoy imaginative play? What are your must haves?
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