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Toddler Imaginative Play

Like most toddlers, Els has a huge imagination. So big in fact, that it spurs and directs our entire day. And by the end of it, my husband and I are downright exhausted.

Besides me binge-eating pretend food all day long, here’s how a typical day in our household goes:

Wake up and go to the doctor. Have our check up. Five times. And then reverse (we are now the doctors). Next we get on a bus, buckle up, and drive to the dentist. We get our teeth checked. (Poke. Prod. Rinse. And spit.) Pick out some toys afterward. And then reverse. We then ditch the bus, get in our car that magically appears and buckle up, only to unbuckle seconds later to get into a boat that takes us to the middle of an ocean, where we swim with dolphins, look out for sharks, befriend the shark who helps us look for pearls to make a pearl necklace, only to notice that the pearls smushed in our pockets and thus we must go back and look for some more. We then go for a luxurious swim in the swimming pool that happens to be IN the ocean. Afterwards we dry off, get back into the car, eat some snacks (that are usually of a gummy bear consistency) and go to school. The school miraculously turns into a zoo where we feed all the animals our never-ending supply of food. We then go back to school where Els gains the courage to have me leave to pick up some milk while she plays with her friends. Only to call out for me seconds later telling me I can not go. No matter what, we have a huge after school reunion where we hug and proclaim our love for each other.

Tired yet?

Not Els. She is running around the house with a pillow over her head because it’s raining. It’s thundering and lightening and we must find shelter quickly. We hide under things until the rain clears, and then we crawl out from our space only to be hit with a sudden torrential downpour. Next, she’s on the phone calling her imaginary friends to come over and play. Once they are all here, she has me be a translator because they can only speak Korean. We tell stories, bake cakes, eat desserts, and play.

By midday, I call out her name. She doesn’t answer. She tells me her name is Rapunzel instead. And she lives in a castle with Cinderella and Snow White. I’m suddenly the prince. I’m always the prince. Or the frog. Or the pumpkin. In the castle, she spends all her day building birdhouses for sparkly pink and gold birds. While she builds, I am ordered to narrate her every brushstroke, design move and craft.

The funniest is when she’s a mom. Because all she does is wipe tables and do the dishes. She also gives me long hugs repeating the words, ‘I know. I know.’

The list is long. Honestly, I couldn’t write her ‘world’ and do it justice. It’s incredible, really. And more incredible how everything including books, people and real situations spark her ways of imaginative play.

And there’s always a twist. Like the other day for instance, after her first real dentist visit, she changed up her normal pretend dentist routine. Instead of poking and prodding the patient (aka: dad) she sat him in the chair and said: “Now, cry daddy.”


Toddler Imaginative Play

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