Stores are full of toys of all kinds, and there are zillions of children’s songs out there. Many of the toys and songs are wonderfully valuable and will help your child to have fun and grow smart. But sometimes the best toys are the ordinary things of life, and the very best songs are the ones that your own child composes for herself.
My four-year-old granddaughter slept over at my apartment last night. There is an extra big bathtub here, so it had to be explored, but because this is a temporary place I wasn’t prepared for a proper bath time with proper bath toys. Not a proper bucket or plastic boat or toy mermaid in sight.
What to do? Invade the kitchen for any less than obvious treasures---empty food containers, a strainer, wooden tongs. “I need something to go in them,” she said, bravely making the best of it. I went back for another round of exploration. An orange seemed relatively waterproof, as did an apple. Would that work?
Oh yes! A fantastic song---more of an opera—unfolded. The poison apple that Snow White ate led to the glass slipper of Cinderella, a pumpkin and a beautiful dress appeared, and a beautiful princess slept for 100 years. Mommy and Daddy and baby brother made it into the story at one point, as did Mia the cat.
The plastic containers were boats that the orange and apple rode in on their way to the ball. The strainer was a waterfall that they got to ride through. The tongs were used to capture the orange and apple when they started to run away. Thirty straight minutes of song and play (with intermission for the most bubbly shampoo in history) and not a “real” toy in sight.
Last night, at her own house, she brought new things into the bath: a strand of beads, a small mirror, and a comb. I happily take this as a sign that she understands that creativity lurks everywhere, that magic can be found in any object, and the best toy of all is one’s own limitless imagination.
Give your little one a “kitchen bath” and see what happens! At the least it will make for a very good night’s sleep for all concerned.