Imaginative Play

Am I the only one who gets tired of playing? Just writing the sentence, seeing it in black and white, it sounds completely ridiculous! Play is fun; it’s the definition of having a good time, engaging in pleasant, entertaining activities. It’s play!

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Obviously, what I’m talking about is playing on my kid’s terms, joining in with his idea of fun. I was so thrilled the first time I remember him letting his imagination soar alongside me as we pretended his bike was a car and toodled around a make believe city, visiting each other’s houses and “eating” crunchy fallen leaves for dinner.

I have countless hours worth of memories of similar play as a child. I lived for playing make believe with my friends and brothers and cousins. From families of beanie babies complete with Mom (always the kangaroo) and Dad (always the lion) and kids (whatever was our current favorite) having over-the-top adventures to scurrying around my cousin’s house bedecked in old prom dresses playing pioneers or princesses, my world was always the endless possibilities of an active imagination. So of course I was thrilled to see Eddie reaching the age of embarking on adventures of pretend play.

Except now I’m expected to jump in whenever his little heart desires. Granted, we’ve had some good fun running a train line of several engines (both passenger and freight), bike-turned-airplane headed to visit Grammy, or playing space travel (of course!). And I know it’s only because it was so much fun that he wants me to play along again. But there are times I’m just not feeling it. Tell me I’m not alone!

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I want to be the mom who encourages him to keep imagining! The fun mom who is always game to jump in and turn our house into the Octopod whenever he’s feeling it. But there’s laundry to fold and dinner to make and sometimes I just don’t have the energy to make believe anything but “let’s pretend it’s bedtime”.

There’s something to be said for jumpstarting the pretend world and letting him take off with it, and maybe it’s just because he’s on the young side, but that never seems to satisfy him. Soon younger brother will be ready to engage in creative play and maybe that will do the trick. Anyway, in the meantime, I guess I’ll just jump on those times when he asks and I have the bandwidth to engage fully in a make believe world, and try not to feel guilty about the times I just can’t. You know, there’ll come a day when he won’t be asking me anymore. Now there’s a bittersweet thought!

4 thoughts on “Imaginative Play

  1. I was just thinking the other day that it’s been awhile since my girls asked me to do this kind of play. It would get tiring, especially when they had an idea in their head and I wasn’t doing it right “No, say . . . ” or “That’s not the way to . . . ” You’re not alone – and you’re right, soon little brother will be able to keep it going. I still love eavesdropping on their pretend play and these elaborate situations they’ve created. “Pretend our mom and dad are dead. And we live in the jungle. And we have pets that can talk. And someone is chasing us.”

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  2. Janine Rocke

    “Child’s play” is exhausting for adults! I think we have so many “real” concerns crowding our minds that we have trouble fitting in with make-believe for very long. A child’s need for play is real, though, and as you noted, will, before we know it, not include mom and dad. So enjoy it when you can and do not feel guilty when you are occupied with the practical issues of caring for the children!
    I felt myself getting tired just imagining keeping up with little ones……………..think I’ll go take a nap!

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