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Monday, July 04, 2011


I love it when kids use nothing but their imagination to play.

My primary school's main oval was surrounded by bush land. My friends and I loved nothing more than making cubby houses with sticks and stones and leaves during lunch time. It was the time of The Sullivans on television, and as a consequence, many of us understood about war, and we would play battlefields in the bush land. We were army soldiers, running through the bush shooting at each other, or simply shooting at our imaginary 'enemy'. Sometimes, the girls would become nurses, taking care of the wounded as they lay - sometimes, dying - on the ground. It was, at times, rather dramatic. I recall standing over a mound of sand - someone's grave, of course - saying something along the lines of, "Poor Aunt Alice. She didn't survive the bombings." A little girl (I can't recall who), started to weep. "My aunty's name is Alice," she cried, and I felt terrible!

I took my boys to a great park today which we haven't visited for a long time. It has a cycle track, a large adjacent oval and plenty of surrounding bush land. We met up with my dear friend, Mardi, and her two boys, and whilst Mardi and I sat on a picnic rug (apart from the few minutes we sat underneath it; shielding ourselves from the pitter-patter of rain), nattering away and catching up after too much time between catch-ups, our boys played. They built a house amongst the trees. They collected sticks for firewood and even made a pile of leaves for, well, 'toilet paper' apparently. (Very practical of them, don't you think?)

As Mardi and I entered their 'house', walking under the bended tree branches, dotted with small white flowers, we were both taken back to our own much younger days. I don't know about Mardi, but I felt a slight sense of envy of our boys' house, as well as a longing for those easy days of my youth, filled with play and imaginary battlegrounds.

However, just as much, I couldn't help but feel such happiness that my own boys were experiencing this wonderful, imaginary world. They had the best time. Dragging them home was like pulling teeth. They didn't want to leave. 

A great start to the school holidays. 

What games did you love to play as a child using just your imagination? Do your kids play such games themselves? 


Corinne – Daze of My Life said...

OH I LOVED imagination games when I was kid, I think every possible scenario was used.

My girls now love creating their own little worlds too. Yesterday, they spent about two hours playing hospitals. It was wonderful!

A great first day of the holidays for you.

Jean said...

It's especially lovely for me when my autistic little man uses his imagination to play (the "experts" say autie kids don't have imagination, empathy or true affection...any parent will tell you that's a big pile of poo).
I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters, so when I was a kid we made up endless games totally out of our imaginations...war (not surprisingly) was a regular feature. Lovely post! xxx

Miss Pink said...

We loved them growing up! Always playing them. I used to love climbing tree's and jumping from them with an umbrella al la Mary Poppins. Instead of opening the back gate we used to climb it, much to my parents dismay. EVERYTHING was an imagination game.
My kids...they're getting there.
I think gender plats a small role here, they tend to play lots of racing games. Bluey commentates like it's a racecar race. I hear them often giggling and in their own world, but I never quite catch on to what the story is. It's almost like it's secret from me. But they definitely play something and usually with no toys at all. I love it.

Susan @ Reading Upside Down said...

I don't remember playing a lot of active imagination games as a child. I do remember building cities with Lego and making up stories with my Barbie & her palomino horse (I desperately wanted one of my own.).

My own children are very creative and imaginative and I try to encourage that whenever I can. I was quite disappointed on the weekend when they were happily drawing in a notebook at church when someone offered them colouring-in pages. Much prefer the kids to be making up things for themselves.

Mum on the Run said...

They cannot retail a better game than a child can invent in the moment. My girlfriends and I fought over who got to be 'Sandy' when we played at being grown up girls moving out of home!
The trees in our front garden were every vessel imaginable.

In Real Life said...

It sounds like a wonderful day! I used to love playing in the woods, making play houses and forts when I was a child.

Ms Styling You said...

Loved days where we just played; rode our bikes on bush tracks; tried to fish for yabbies and came home when the sun went down ... come to think of it our parents had it pretty good then too!!

Tara @ Our Whirlwind Adventures said...

What a fun day.!!
My brother and I were introduced to HR Pufnstuf by our Mum and everyday we made paper hats, wore blankets around our shoulders and just ran aimlessly giggling pretending we were Cling & Clang.
I don't remember who was who but I was the red one, my brother was the green one and we'd often yell fake scenarios to each other so we knew what each of us was doing since Cling and Clang never actually spoke.
Just remembering it makes me laugh out loud.
I love watching my little one's play dollies and cars and cannot wait for them to make up a fantastic world of their own :)

Holly said...

Ooh this post brings back memories of my childhood imagination games. I was a big reader and a fan of books such as The Faraway Tree and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and most of my imaginary games involved treetop adventures and kings and queens, battles etc. Our games were so much fun, thank you for reminding me of them!

River said...

Schoolyard games when i was a kid were cowboys and indians or cops and robbers forthe boys, the girls would play fairies and witches. I was always the ugly bad witch.

I remember watching the Sullivans. Did you see the episode where one scene was shot on a city street and they forgot to edit out a modern airplane flying overhead? We all thought that was hilarious.

Mama of 2 boys said...

What a lovely day and wonderful experience for your boys... and their imagination! There is nothing better than the make believe games we play as children. I remember mine so fondly and thank you for reminding me of them :o)
I long for the day when my boys and my friend's children are old enough to toddle off and play properly while we're chatting... these days it is still very much play with our involvement!