The Imaginary Microcosms of Childhood

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Wonder Woman doesn’t wear pants, Dad!

I doubt that anyone would disagree with the simple comment that children are incredibly imaginative creatures.  Whether it be them playing house, putting on underwear hats, or sailing the seven seas of the living room, they always have something going on inside their heads that is quite a bit different from reality.

I love it.

I find myself daily attempting to discern what reality is occurring within the confines of my children’s minds, only to come up emptyhanded. . . most days.

This weekend, whilst hanging out at the local Children’s Museum, I couldn’t help but notice all of the imaginations occurring in conjunction with each other between all of the children around.

Now, I love the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, it’s a great place for the kids to hang out and expend some energy during these cold Wisconsin winters.  However, with that being said, it’s not like it’s all that huge of a place.  The majority of the building is taken up by their Itty Bitty City, a collection of buildings and activities made to comprise the activities of a town.

Within this Itty Bitty City, there are many fantasies (albeit ones I would consider rather mundane) for a child to live out.  They can be a dentist, a mail man person, a grocery stocker, a grocery shopper, a cashier, a banker, a bank customer, a driver, a construction worker, an electrician, a plumber. . . you get it. . .there’s a lot there.

And outside of that, I find kids coming up with even more lives to live out within the confines of this city.  One of my favorites to see occur is that of the low-life thief.  There is a certain amount of “money” that is intended to float around the Itty Bitty businesses.  Some days, there’s money appropriately scattered as I get there.  Some is at the bank, some in the cash registers at the different businesses, and. . some on the ground to be found by lucky passers-by.

Some days, however, there is a group of “hoodlums” that appear.  These kids run around from register to register. . . over and over again, stealing all the money out of them as they run around with a giant wad in their hands.  They try to act sneaky as they work, playing out this role of robber quite fully.  As usual, I’m not entirely certain what’s all going on their heads, but I find it rather amusing all the same.  These kids have found a new fantasy to live out, and theirs is not entirely what was intended by the creators of this building.

Even more amusing is that one time I found one of these hoods’ stash hiding in the (actual) bowels of the nearby digestive system play area.  He had also managed to nab all sorts of different items from the nearby business and created quite the pile for himself.

And so it was that yesterday I found myself watching my daughter play in ways that she had never quite played before as well.  She decided that, after trying out some of the other roles for the day, she wanted to work the cash register.  She would check out all of the customers as they came by, and after a little coaching from her cash-register-experienced father, would thank the customers for their business, wish them well, and hope they would come again.

But it was the time in-between customers that I found most amusing.  It was not a very busy day at the museum yesterday.  Which means, there weren’t many customers.  So. . . she sat. . . and waited. . . and sat.  She was very cheerful about the whole thing, continually telling me that she was waiting for more customers.  However, she was totally selling herself into the role she was playing.  She knew in her head that there were times she would just have to wait, and she was okay with that.

Children constantly amaze me. . .

Anyways, things to do, stuff to play. . .


Have a good one.


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