When I was a little kid there was a show on TV called the Magic Garden. I would race home from kindergarten and happily watch this show over milk and cookies. The two hosts, Carole and Paula would merrily guide you through the program with the aid of songs, games, silly jokes and stories. The stories were improvised according to the contents inside the Story Box. I loved to sing the story box song and eagerly waited to see what was inside. They would sort through to items, decided which character each would play and then acted out a story. It was a great show.
Recently, I was cleaning out the contents in my mother’s basement and came across an old box of dress-up clothes. It was filled with tutus, tiaras, old Halloween costumes and lots of beaded junk jewelry. As kids, we spent hours making up stories and acting them out. Whenever a new item was added, a character was born and a new story began.
One of the greatest things you can do for your child is foster their imagination. When I was a kid all we needed was a bucket of chalk and a rope and we could play all day. We would play hopscotch and jump rope. Then the rope would almost magically turn into a cowboy’s lasso, the reins on a horse’s bridle or a venomous snake. We drew squares on the street with chalk that became rooms for playing house, prison cells for captured outlaws and tag bases. An of course, there was the story box. Kids today seem to spend their lives in front of TV or with their eyes and fingers fixed on a video game. Technology takes the imagination out of playing. When they do get off the couch it is usually to play organized team sports. The Millennials of today just don’t play pretend like the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers did when they were kids. They lack the spark that allows them to look at that jump rope and see it as so much more than a jump rope. Kids today need a story box of their own to unleash their imaginations.
There are a wide variety of accessories that can be used to create hundreds of imaginary characters and scenarios. Encourage time away from the TV. Praise their ability to pretend. Fancy and elaborate costumes are fine if you want them but when it comes to fostering imagination a little should be able to go a long way. Here are some accessory ideas to get you started:
- A Black Cape can turn a child into a witch, magician, superhero, villain or sorcerer. It can double as a blanket or a fort cover.
- Wigs are a must have for your story box. With a few simple accessories and a little imagination a long black wig can turn a girl into a witch or a princess while for boys then can be transformed into a pirate or a rock star.
- Hats – When playing pretend, a hat may be all you need to create a character. Hats are ideal for very young children because they can manage it themselves. They are easy on and easy off which suits their attention span. A police or fire hat is great for boys and girls alike. The hat says it all. Now where is that jump rope to use as a fire hose?
Everything you need to make a story box for boy or girls is available at unbeatable prices at www.costumesupercenter.com.
By the way if you are out there Carole and Paula, you never said hello to “Lara” but I forgive you.