Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On Watching the Babby's Imaginative Play

When I was a little girl, there was no kind of play I liked more than solo imaginative play with tiny figurines - the more realistic and articulable, the better. I'd sit for hours at a time in some corner of the house or garden, totally immersed in scenarios I created involving animals and people and other characters.

And now I've been spending a lot of time watching the Babby engaging in the same type of play.

The park no longer holds the same appeal as it did once upon a time, and often my inquiries as to whether the Babby would like to play outside are met with a negative response. But a few dinos or little women, men, and kids - things that are scaled pretty small - and a surface for them to sit, stand, walk, or climb on, and the Babby has a whole movie in her head. Just like I used to when I was a kid.

Seeing this helps me understand why people love watching children play... it's like looking into one's past. Up until now, the Babby's play style wasn't like anything I could remember, but now I'm suddenly seeing myself through her.

Why? In some ways, the most interesting part of watching the Babby engage in this kind of immersive imaginative play is that I can't do it anymore. I actually remember when I lost the ability. It was right around that pre-puberty period that I suddenly realized that I wasn't engaged in the stories I was creating with my figurines in the same way. Once upon a time, imaginative play was akin to reading in that I would lose myself in it and become totally caught up in the lives of the characters. Then one day *poof* I could still lose myself in books and in daydreams, but not in the outside stories of my own creation.

There's a part of me that wonders if there's anything I can do to help the Babby hold on to her ability to fully immerse herself in her imagination, but maybe I shouldn't think that way.

Maybe adults aren't meant to be able to lose themselves in the more manipulative forms of imagination? It strikes me that being able to believe in the imaginative sense that a string is talking could be one step away from thinking a string is actually talking? I don't know - would the brain experts (Julia) care to weigh in?

imaginative play


  1. I love love LOVE imaginative play!

  2. Doing it? Watching it? Both? I can't get enough playing pretend with the Babby, but I always wonder just what's going on in that little head of hers. It's like I'm only participating in a tiny part of the story and if I wasn't playing the part of 'papa' or whatever, she'd just fill it in by herself!

  3. Marlie just started engaging in pretend and I am just captivated (and honored when she invites me to join her imaginary tea time). I want to bottle of this time so that she will always have it.

  4. It is a treat to watch our kiddos absorbed in their own little world!

    Visiting from SITS :)

  5. @Teresha Videos! Won't be the same as living it, but it's as close as we can get :)

    @Morgan I know - wish it wouldn't go by so fast. The time, I mean!


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