Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nurturing a Need to Play

I would never consider myself a storyteller nor would I consider myself very creative.  But to Abby, my stories are EPIC.  Her eyes light up, she hangs on every word, she gets excited when a character in my story likes the same things she does.  To her, there is no better story then one I can tell.

The first story I ever made up was a total FAIL.  Half way through the story, I realized that I was telling the story of a cross dressing elephant named BoBo.  I thought my story was not only ridiculous but also pretty lame.  Abby, on the other hand, couldn't get enough of the Adventures of BoBo.

We've moved on from BoBo (thankfully).  Now I tell stories of Bobby Jo the Brontosaurus and her brother Billy Bob.  Sometimes Bobby Jo goes shopping for a pink polka dotted toy Triceratops.  Other times, she goes to the park to slide down the tunnel slides.  There isn't a day that goes by that Abby doesn't ask to hear a story about Bobby Jo.

At first, I felt a bit silly.  I thought too hard about making the story into a lesson.  I tried to make the story perfect.  I realize now that it's not the story that Abby loves.  It's the fact that I'm telling it.  She wants to hear me.  She wants me to interact with her.  She wants my attention.  She wants me to play.

Now, I don't over think the story.  A moral to the story would be nice but isn't necessary.  The story itself doesn't even have to change much each time I tell it.  Now, I involve her.  I ask her what she thinks Bobby Jo ate at lunch or what she bought at the store.  We make up the story together.

Now, I realize that there is a moral to the story.  There is a lesson to be learned.  Abby is learning how to imagine, play, think, and create all on her own.  Now, she doesn't always need me to tell her a story.  I hear her in her room making up a whole world for her and her toys.  She pretends and she imagines what she doesn't see. She improvises and tries to make what she needs (a tupperware is a car seat or a yogurt container as Daisy's bed).  Her imagination has endless possibilities.
I am learning that the most important thing I can do for Abby is to nurture her desire to play.  Playtime is when she puts all of the things she has learned into action.  It's where she starts to put together the pieces of life's many puzzles.  And it's where she discovers things she never knew before.

1 comment:

  1. What a great post! (I just pinned your photo!) My husband tells "Little Squirrel" stories, and my specialty is "Little Goosey" stories. They are not great literature, but my girls love our stories! I always say the same thing about singing to your kids, too. You may think you can't sing, but your kids don't care! (Well, when they are little, anyway.) ;)



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