The best toy of all

by threegirlpileup

In honor of Black Friday, along with my ongoing attempt to streamline our belongings and our play areas, I’ve been reflecting on which toys really get played with in our house.  Not the toys I thing should or would get played with (like, for example, our gorgeous maple unit blocks), but what actually sees action many times each week.  Here’s what I came up with:

  • Stuffed animals.  Having an aspiring veterinarian in the house, lots of play around here involves pets and vet clinic visits.
  • Art supplies.  Especially markers and play-doh.
  • Playmobil.  We have a “big kid” farm and a 1-2-3 farm.
  • Play kitchen, food, and assorted pots and dishes.
  • Dress-up clothes and accessories, from playsilks to fairy wings
  • Musical instruments (including our piano, which isn’t really a toy)
  • Puzzles (especially for Anna lately)
  • Games, from board games to computer games

But the thing that struck me the most, as I was making this list, was how much of the play in our house involves almost none of the stuff listed above.  Really, it’s about some imaginary world that Maggie and Anna create together and live out in exuberant detail.  Today, for example, I arrived home to discover that Maggie was a beaver and Anna was a woodpecker.  Earlier in the day, Maggie and Anna were camping together downstairs (although I’m pretty sure that they weren’t actually Maggie and Anna at the time.)  Often these days, there are games riffing on the Rainbow Magic fairies, with roles and characters switching around a lot.

Which is not to say that this play is always peaceful or easy.  With considerable frequency, the girls need me to step in and help them work through a conflict, which often come to a head with screaming and/or physical fighting.  But in that magical way that siblings have, they are often able to move past the trouble and jump right back into the game.

So it’s like a corny MasterCard commercial:

Playmobil Farm: $50

Fancy European Markers: $10

WAHM-made playsilks: $60

Play kitchen and food: $100

A sister: priceless