Recently, Brandt’s imagination has burst forth, and I’ve had so much fun watching it. He engages in all sorts of pretend play these days. His games run along three themes: music, baseball, and transportation.
He uses anything stick-like as a bow for imaginary violins and cellos. Items he’s turned into bows include thermometers, measuring tapes, and curtain rods. Sometimes he does air violin, and sometimes he pretends his toy guitar is a violin or cello. Here, he told me he was holding his instrument on his neck (close, son), and he’s using a still-packaged curtain rod to bow:
We live across the street from a small community baseball field. During the first half of summer, Brandt constantly wanted to walk over to watch the games. His enthusiasm for the baseball players generated his first foray into dress-up. He of course needs his baseball hat, which he’s decided must be worn forward for throwing and hitting but backward for catching. Sometimes, though, a plastic firefighter hat makes a superb baseball helmet. Then he adds whatever accessories he deems necessary for the game: sunglasses, Daddy’s work glove, even an airplane held between the teeth. Once attired for the game, his play is punctuated with shouts of, “Run!”, ” Safe!”, “Field!”, “Home run!”, and “Going, going, gone!”
If frequency gives any indication, his favorite imaginary realm is filled with things that go. We build construction machines out of any sort of blocks – bristle blocks, Mega blocks, wooden blocks. Brandt tells me what we should build (“tuck dum,” “excalalaler,” “mint kicker,” and so forth*). I devise a sturdy base suitable to his truck of choice. After that, Brandt overrides my attempts at realism with abundant towers and arms, getting ever more precarious. But in his eyes, the original truck is still there (usually with a seat for a doggie or a guy).
Brandt also likes to create trucks out of pillows. When he first started doing this, I thought Aaron must have shown him the idea, but Brandt actually came up with it on his own. He clambers onto our bed and starts to arrange our four pillows. He declares the vehicle he wants (“Loader!” “Fire engine!”) and solicits assistance (“Mama help”). I prop the four pillows into a square, and he gets in and out until it collapses. Then we start all over again.
The Boppy pillow also makes excellent vehicular source material. Added to the four bed pillows, it can be the drum of a cement mixer. Or, on its own, it functions as a “moker” (motorcycle). The other day, Brandt strapped his baseball hat under his chin, declared it a “holmp” (helmet), and rode that Boppy full throttle.
With a little imagination, chairs become pretend transportation, too. I showed Brandt how to line up a row of chairs as a train; he quickly realized this works just as well as a plane. He puts stuffed animals in each seat (leaving a spot for himself, of course). He or I will serve as conductor/pilot/flight attendant, calling, “All aboard!” or offering (pretend) lemonade to passengers. Good times.
What a treat to watch a little mind full of big possibilities.
*translation: dump truck, excavator, and cement mixer