In which a zebra and a polar bear share a meal

January 26th, 2013

If you happened across this little domestic tableau, you might assume that Miss Mouse had been playing with her toys.

But you would be wrong.  The dinner party pictured above was the work of her little brother.

I am endlessly fascinated by the different ways in which Miss Mouse and Buggie play.  They have very different approaches to imaginative recreation.

For Miss Mouse, pretend play always involves another person, preferably an adult.  Her imaginative games revolve around her as the heroine/princess/mermaid/cat/baby/etc. and require that a second participant narrate the story (following her very specific instructions, mind you) and play all the secondary roles.

It is exhausting, but very entertaining.

Buggie, on the other hand, plays on his own more.  He’ll stand at the toy castle or the dollhouse and move the pieces around, chatting animatedly to himself and his toys.  He’ll tenderly cover up a series of baby dolls, giving them hugs and gentle pats while exhorting them to sleep.  And he’ll set up a small army of stuffed animals on the floor, then carefully bring each one a helping of play food.  (Then he removes it all, puts it away in the kitchen, and starts again.)

Grown-ups are welcome to play, too — he’s happy to serve me tea or a cheese sandwich if I’m in the area — but aren’t really required a lot of the time.  I don’t know if is this a second-child thing, a boy thing, or just a Buggie thing.

They’re both using their imaginations a lot, which I love to see.  It’s just so interesting how differently their pretend play unfolds!

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