Albert Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge”….so why is it we know more and imagine less as we get older? The scope and strength of a small child’s imagination – despite their relatively small amount of “knowledge” never ceases to amaze me.
In the past week my house has been populated by the following cast of characters ….
Monday – a doctor tending a ward of serious accident victims.
Hello Kitty appeared dressed in her nurses outfit (but she always informs everyone very strongly when she’s wearing this “NO, I’m a Doctor!” – the girl has aspirations) I helped her find the medical bag from the playroom and then had to provide bandages – an old sheet cut up satisfied her – and we found a bottle from the play-kitchen which seemed to be a good substitute for medicine. I could then hear her ordering her two older sisters to stay in bed and rest and take their medicine. They both appeared later wrapped in bandages!
Tuesday – Peter Pan and Astro-Boy teaming up to fight a whole armada of pirates….and a spaceship. They tore around the garden before transforming into tutu-wearing ballerinas and asking me to put on some dance music – they then performed a dance to a Vivaldi piece from the Shine soundtrack
Wednesday – I am writing this whilst two leotard clad figures dance around me to “Better Best Forgotten” by Steps looking like the cast of Fame!
Two weeks ago the three girls and I attended Lighthouse, a holiday club run by the local churches. I volunteered as a helper and the girls were enrolled in the club. It is held on the playing field of The Bratz’ school in huge marquees and the kids do craft, sports, games…..on the Monday The Mouth got up and got herself dressed in shorts and t-shirt…and then put on her Knights costume over the top. This is a tabard top made to look like a tunic with armour over it which we bought on our trip to Warwick castle the Friday before. She wore the costume all day.
On the Tuesday she came down to breakfast wearing her Pirate Queen dress….and Hello Kitty was dressed as Peter Pan….when we arrived the other helpers all said ‘Oh, what are you dressed as today?” and whilst we were clearing up at the end of the day they all asked “So, what are you wearing tomorrow?”
Wednesday was a fairy day – we have about 5 fairy costumes in our dressing up box so this one took a little bit of choosing but she eventually settled for a pink sparkly skirt and matching wings worn over her official Lighthouse t-shirt. The leaders were suitably amused and intrigued as to what she would wear on the Thursday which was our last day …it would have to be something big….
After an extensive search through the dressing up clothes (and persuading her that a mermaid tail wasn’t practical) she arrived for a full day of playing outside dressed in a Belle princess dress with full hooped skirt! She also took this dress on holiday with us last week and wore it out to the pub for a meal one evening to the intense amusement of her grandfather who kept joking he hadn’t realised it was formal and he hadn’t brought his suit!
By the way, the Fame rehearsals have broken up now and there are now two little girls, still dressed in leotards, both with wellies, one with a knights tabard and both wielding swords chasing “baddies” around the garden on bicycles….
Watching my children dressing up and going out in public dressed up with no sense of embarassment or self-conciousness I wonder where and when we lose that ability to so totally immerse ourselves in a world of our own imagination? And it is total – a child of a friend habitually pretends to be either Superman, Spiderman or Ben 10. A few years ago the nursery he attended with Hello Kitty was being inspected and the inspector was talking to some of the children. “Hello, what’s your name?” she asked (he was dressed as Spiderman) “Spiderman” was the obvious reply. “Oh, of course” she said “but what’s your real name?” …… “Peter Parker”