Monday, November 16, 2009

"The world is but a canvas to our imagination."

My daughter has a LOT of toys. A lot. A whole heaping mess of toys.

She doesn't play with them.

One thing I have noticed in the weeks away from home is how few of her toys she is actually all that interested in. At home, she would dig through her toy boxes aimlessly, trying to sort out the mess. Here, she mostly spends her time outside, or when she is indoors, in pretend play. One Little People set, a few stuffed animals, and some of her little brother's clothing serve to keep her quite busy most of the day. The one thing I know she misses is her kitchen stuff--play food and tea set and pots and pans. Sometimes she tells me she needs to go home and get it. I know there is a good chance it will get lost here, just like it always seemed to be lost in the tangled mess in our home, so I am leaving it tucked away until we finish clearing out all the stuff she doesn't miss. But aside from her pretend food, she doesn't care one bit about what has been left behind.
She plays all. day. long. She stays busy doing a million different things, and most of those things don't require games or toys at all.

It makes me wonder when I stopped giving her the chance to just explore. I wonder when the toys became overwhelming for her. I can clearly picture her, sitting in her toy room, looking perplexed. I used to think she was bored with the toys she had, thought maybe I ought to get her some more. It turns out, I think she was actually just perplexed about what to do with all that STUFF. Sounds familiar, no?

It makes me wonder when my own imagination died. If I wrack my brain, I can only think, at best, of two or three toys that I played with as a kid, and those two or three were toys I really loved. The rest of my childhood is full of pretend games, active games, forts, reading, drawing, creating. I wonder when I decided that I needed stuff to fill my time and attention, when flashing lights and whirling gizmos took the place of a good old book, an invisible tea party, or just making something with my hands.

And I wonder how on earth did this world actually manage to get me to start passing that on to my kids? I'm so grateful that every day is a new one.


  1. You know...I often wonder this same thing as I watch G & I many times it is the simple things that they love the most and have the most fun with...the big box...the barn I made her from sticks and tape, and wonder why I spend $$ on toys that she *thinks* she needs, when in reality, she just needs to use her imagination more...I need to do like you and purge so much stuff!!

  2. I am guilty of this more than I care to admit. Kenna is most happy with just cardboard boxes or rocks that she's found outside- but I still continue to buy her more (and more, and more) toys. Hopefully, next time I have the urge, I'll think of this post.

    At the end of each of your posts I always want to comment, "AMEN!"


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