Feb 12, 2013

Yes, I’m playing with your toy, because someone needs to do it properly

Oh, isn't it wonderful how imaginative and inventive children are? 

How, when you give them a toy, they don’t play with it the *proper* way but find some other, funny, idiosyncratic and perfectly lovely way to play with it instead?

And does this sometimes frustrate the crap out of you??

Have you ever caught yourself saying any of these things?:

“See, the little fireman goes in the little firetruck!” 
“Ha ha, I don’t think the TIGER would sleep in the HOUSE!” 
“See, this carriage should go in front because that’s the engine, and the caboose goes on the back.” 
“Look, you can put the little teacups on top of the little saucers! That one’s actually a milk jug, so that goes there.” 
“Oooh, look - this swing attaches to the back of the boat and then Polly Pocket can sit in it! No look – wait – let me – I’ll give it back – I’m just trying to show you…!”

When my kids were little and they got a new toy, I was actually not always so quick to say these things, but I did sometimes, and I sometimes had to almost restrain myself from plunging in and setting up the perfect little play scenario… for me.

My sister and I have had this discussion. My nephew was recently given a little wooden police station with garage, police car, helicopter and helipad. Do you think he will ever sit the little helicopter on top of the little helipad? He won’t let my sister do it either, and she has tried to do it many a time, at first in front of him with explanations and appeals to logic, and secondly behind his back. He is having none of it.

My girls share a wooden dollhouse which is kept in the lounge [playroom] and when they were in bed I used to quite often [daily] “fix” the furniture while they were asleep so everything was in its right room. 

Then I set the dolls up in various rooms so each was engaged in a logical scenario – often wish-fulfillment ones for myself like watching television, sitting together at a dinner table, or lying in bed. This went on for a fair amount of time and I got a goodly amount of satisfaction from it… until finally I realised that actually, I was playing with the dollhouse.

These days my girls are seven and they are very adept at “scenario” toys. But they do still mix things up and of course it’s a good thing, because (a) it just is and (b) I haven’t had to buy new doll accessories as everything gets repurposed. Polly Pockets, Strawberry Shortcakes, Power Rangers and My Little Ponies all share houses and furniture, while the Monster High girls have taken over the old Barbie stuff now that Barbie is so uncool.

Though what I would really love to see is the Barbies, Monster High girls and the La Dee Da dolls sometimes go on camping trips together and use the ^&$%@#! Barbie camper vans which cost Santa a ^&$%@#! fortune two Christmases ago. I've suggested it a few times but it’s not catching on. My new evening activity, perhaps?

How to play with dollhouses: Barbie and Ricky video:


  1. We were watching some old family videos the other day and saw Bear from the Bear in the Big Blue House chatting to Elmo in a cardboard castle designed for Polly Pockets. Tutter the tiny mouse was on a My Little Pony inside the IKEA play tent....

  2. Argh, chaos! Very cute though :)
    I loved Bear in the Big Blue House when my kids were little!



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