Every holiday I have to use my imagination when family asks what the girls would like. Because they really don't want to hear "books". I, personally, would have LOVED to have had the toys they have. And I know they're good, because when other kids come over, they actually play with the toys. I've paired down what we have several times, and what's left we just can't part with (the ORIGINAL Polly Pockets, Jer's Legos, all the Disney Princess barbies, most gifted to us to a good friend who has since passed away, Baby toys, puzzles, GOOD dress-up items, playdough etc). I can't tell you how many times I want to pull my hair out during long breaks when the only thing that the girls do is wrestle, fight over whatever toy it is Samantha has decided she NEEDS to carry around just to keep it away from Charlotte (or vice versa) and this:
now, the toys DO get played with....when other kids come over! A friend once marveled in disbelief at how I was able to keep all the separate sets of toys together and separate. She said it was because I "only have one". Since Charlotte has come along and started playing I've realized it's not that- it's because they don't ever get played with. My children are possessors. They'll obsesses over one thing (a purse, a babydoll, a Lego creation, a stuffy) for weeks. It will be coveted. There will be fights over who gets to hold it. It will be brought along to the grocery store, the bathroom, daycare. It doesn't get played with, it's just carried around. Then, one day, it will be set down and forgotten. But heaven forBID if someone comes along to play with it or move it! Is this typical? How do other children play? All the kids that come to play play HARD with our toys. My girls just watch in awe...my little ponies playing with the barbies? Genius! Dinosaurs on a farm? Way cool! Build a lego car without instructions? Mind. Blown.
How do kids learn to PLAY? Do I really need to model how to play with toys with them? Isn't that supposed to come naturally?