I am a mama who wants my children to know how to use their imaginations. I also love well-made, fun toys; especially if they encourage children play and learn practical skills at the same time. I am rarely (never) drawn to the bright plastics that are so inexpensive and readily available. I am however, drawn to things like wooden play kitchens, wool play food, skuut balancing bike, play silks and Bamboletta dolls. The trouble is that these things are often quite expensive and don’t always fit with our desire to live simply with minimal extras (we are by no means there yet). I like to think that I am slowly leaving the consumerist mentality behind yet I often realize that I have actually traded it in for a more expensive, attractive, greener and healthier one. I honestly have thoughts such as,” The girls really should have a play kitchen, they would love it so much and it will be so good for them. It will help foster a love for cooking in them” or ” If Aneliese had some play silks it would help her develop the artistic freedom that I want her to have”. You may chuckle but these are honestly thoughts that go through my head. Anyways, welcome to my personal confession time.
As often seems to happen, I am learning something from my children and what they need. Aneliese is getting to the age where she shows me just what she can learn from and play with. I hear her having conversations with her animals that I can’t see. The coffee table becomes her stove while the stacker toy turns into cookies to be baked on the bottom shelf. A blanket becomes a princess shape, an oddly shaped branch is now a hockey stick. My shopping bag changes to a lunch kit while a lid proves to be a tasty snack. I am beginning to see that I do not need to provide my girls with toys, even fabulous heirloom wooden ones, and other objects for their imaginations to soar and for them to learn valuable life lessons. I can provide them instead with an example of useful living and hard work. I can demonstrate and engage them in creativity. I can give them the security and space to dream and imagine. Thankfully at this point when Aneliese says “Mama, I need keys, I go to town, shopping”, she is only pretending.