Monday, August 18, 2008

Creative Play

For as long as I can remember Bella has been very creative in her play. As a baby I remember her favorite toy was her nasal aspirator, and at the time it baffled me that she would choose that over all her other toys. It's the same story now with different toys. I've always kind of taken it for granted the way you do with your first child and assume everything they do is typical, but have recently been reflecting more and more on the uniqueness of it. She generally has two ways that she turns her pretend-play into something more creative: she either takes an ordinary toy and finds innovative uses or roles for it, or she takes a household object that shouldn't have any appeal whatsoever and extends it's play for days on end.
For example, here are a few things I've 'caught' her playing with lately. Last week her 'toy' of choice was a container of cat treats. They are small, semi-soft fish shaped treats, and she used them to create a myriad of shapes and characters. At first I thought it was kind of gross, but it kept her so entertained I decided it didn't matter. She took them in and out of that container endlessly and created Squidward's legs, Squidward's face, bridges, and who knows what else for several days. A few days ago she was using some combination of a dustpan, shape-sorting blocks and a flashlight. (The flashlight is a huge favorite. It's key ring sized.) On Sunday she played with all of my bottles of nail polish until I insisted we put them away. For the last few days a favorite toy was a couple handfuls of individually-wrapped Wintogreen lifesavers- and when I say favorite, I mean she can play with them all day in various ways and still extend the game for several days. Yesterday she played with those in addition to Boggle letters, several rocks, 2 tubes of chapstick, and a baby outfit she commandeered to use it's pockets for stuffing, all in our coat closet. Presently she is playing with a collection of magnets, markers, and colored pencils in a shoe box with a beach towel spread on the floor for a 'picnic.' She is also pushing around 2 umbrellas she has named and is racing them. For some reason she has a special affinity for collecting a random assortment of toys and objects, putting them in various containers and purses and carrying them around.
And let's not forget 'hand.' I can't remember when hand first made an appearance, but sometime since we moved. 'Hand' is in fact, her hand(s). She has given them identities and will flutter her fingers around in the air, acting out their play. She uses them to make excuses, such as 'But hand wants to play with the fork!' and the like. Foot even makes an appearance every now and then, but the hands are a given.
She loves a lot of traditional toys and games like coloring, books, stuffed animals, plastic figures and board games, but will also find new innovative uses for them such as making shapes out of her crayons. Other favorite objects in the past include spoons, spatulas, buttons, pens, and our phones. I am glad that I can appreciate this uniqueness about her and continue to document it all with photos. In the mean time I am glad to have recorded it for future reference. She is a silly, creative girl and this creativity has given me invaluable time while she entertains herself. For that I am doubly grateful.

6 comments:

Diana said...

Bella is one creative girl, we all know she gets it from her mom!
It's wonderful to have a child who can occupy themselves for hours at a time with seemingly boring household items :)

michelle said...

I am glad you are recognizing how great this creative play is! It shows such imagination and independence and frees you up immeasurably. Unfortunately, not all kids play this way...

charlotte said...

She is one great kid!

Jill said...

The afternoon I spent with Bella was so fun because I loved watching her independent and creative way of playing. She totally reminds me of Whitney that way and I think it's a great gift to be that creative.

Cecilia said...

I wonder if is a girl thing because my girl is 3 and she can also entertain herself for hours. She also sings and dances as she is playing, I love it!
I think they would be good friends if they got together to play.

Hannah said...

Independent play is so great! Bella is so unique- miss her...

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