When my daughter received a play kitchen for her 2nd birthday, we were not surprised that she immediately took to it and started pretending to make food. She had started pretend play several months earlier, complete with character voices for her animals and worlds that she created with Legos. What we were surprised by was that her kitchen prompted our 5-year-old son, who rarely showed interest in pretend play, to participate, as well. It was only after this that we started noticing that, because my daughter was interested in certain activities or in experiencing things differently, that my son was starting to open himself to them.
Pretend play was a very noticeable one as he is very focused on realism and organized, linear thought and experiences. But he suddenly started leading the way in acting out stories. He still didn’t fully understand when his sister announced that a character from a show they were watching was sitting at the table with them or that she was going to go on a train in the living room. In fact, he argued with her that the trains in the living room were not big enough for her to get on. We’ve had to explain to him that her pretend play can be whatever she wants. But, despite this, we can see his mind opening to the possibility of imagination on another level than he is used to.
Could it be that the younger sibling was actually prompting the older sibling to expand his horizons, rather than the usual other way around? Read the rest of this entry →