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Archive for the ‘imagination’ Category

The best kind of imagination game?  One led by a little person. This kind of game is especially appreciated when it 1) comes at the end of a day with a lot of whining and 2) is played happily by the little person almost completely solo.

Late this afternoon LP spontaneously created the Dinosaur Snow game which really turned our day around. Here is her recipe for Dinosaur Snow fun:

Take two dinosaurs named Roar and Roar.

Dress them for the snow.

Find a deep hole (previously dug for an imaginary friend and then deepened for LP in a prairie dog mood).

Submerge dinosaurs in a colander of cornstarch.

Hold Roar and Roar over the hole and shake.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

LP also recommends covering the adjacent rosemary bush with dinosaur snow and climbing into the bush and singing a song to Roar and Roar while they hide in the colander of snow.

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Quick and playful – what more could an impovisational parent want?

Give your little person yoga pose inspirations.  Yesterday, as we waited for our neighbors in their garden, LP was having a hard time waiting and not picking things.  So after explaining for the 50th time why she had to wait, I switched tactics.

“Show me lettuce pose.”

And she did! I wish I had my camera with me as she squatted down over a growing head of lettuce and put her head gently down to it.

It lasted for a few more vegetable poses and then she moved on to exploring their gardening tools.

When I stepped back in to our house for a minute to check on dinner, she had moved on to “bunny pose” which was similar to lettuce pose but involved munching on the lettuce. Sigh. Another moment with a four year old adhering to the exact rule — “no picking” — and not the spirit of it.

Making up new yoga poses is great for playfully passing the time when you are waiting.  LP, who adores her yoga class at preschool (and probably knows more real yoga poses than I do!), has initiated creating her own poses in the past.  When we had to get up at 4 am to go to the airport, she passed the time while ImprovDad and I loaded up the car by doing “heater pose.”  It works well to give her something to do with her energy when we’re in a situation that calls for patience and/or containment.

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One of the lovely things I’m witnessing in LP at 4 years old is her growing awareness of her imagination and sense of empowerment that comes with that.  Not only is her imagination a source of fun and play, it is also a force for comfort and to manage difficult moments.

Two examples:

  1. She and her wonderful babysitter M had plans to take two of her stuffed panda buddies — Beckett and Monium — with them on a morning adventure up to Cal’s campus.  M tells me that they didn’t realize the pandas weren’t with them until they were a good hour into their walk.  LP started to have a meltdown.  M tried a few different strategies that she rejected and really ramped up the screaming.  After a few minutes, she stopped screaming and tearfully said, “I have imaginary Beckett here and imaginary Monium here” while tucking one under each arm.  And that was that. (more…)

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When I was a girl, maybe 7 or 8 years old, I wanted a dog.

I wanted a dog more than anything. I desperately wanted a dog.  And there was no way we were getting a dog.  My mom was afraid of dogs.  More accurately, my mom was AFRAID of dogs.  Sometimes she would cross the street if a dog was barking in a house we were walking past. (Do you remember that, siblings?  Or did I make that up?)

So I imagined some dogs.  Actually, I imagined 100 dogs.  I chose breeds and names and spent hours taking care of them, playing with them and would go to sleep at night saying goodnight to them one at a time. I’m sure that back then I could have told you about each dog in great detail.

I also remember that when we moved the summer I was 9, I decided I was too old to still have those imaginary dogs. So I left them behind.  I felt sad and grown up at the same time.

Fortunately for me these many years later,  I made a list of the dogs!  Recently I was going through a box of photo albums, journals and other flotsam and jetsam from my life and found the first page:

(It is quite a mystery to me why it says “Toothpick” in pen near the top.)

What a find!  I shared it with LP and she has been wildly interested in it.  She loves to have me read the list and through the power of her imagination, has brought the imaginary dogs into our home.  (She too is a girl who loves dogs and we are certainly not getting a dog anytime soon.)  It is sweet to get reacquainted with Chinkie, Splotch, Dandy, Butterscotch and the rest and experience imaginary dogs through her eyes. Even better, in addition to playing with the imaginary dogs from the list, she is adding her own.

Over the weekend, as she sat swinging away in the park, LP asked me “When you were a little girl, did you have six imaginary comets?” When I said no and asked her if she had six imaginary comets, she smiled a huge smile and started to tell me all about them (they live in the large cracked pot in the backyard for starters).

The things we can do with our imaginations…just beautiful!  I hope she doesn’t feel the need to grow up and leave imaginary dogs and comets behind too soon.

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