H loves the vacuum cleaner. It’s like a party in his living room. Even better, he wants to participate. So when the blue monster makes an appearance, he goes out to retrieve his golf club caddy from the Florida room and wheels it back and forth wherever Mommy missed a spot. Absolutely adorable.

The first reaction to help fuel the fire for this cleaning tendency was for a miniature vacuum to appear. Like his miniature grill. And miniature wheelbarrow. And miniature rocking chair. And miniature basketball hoop. I guess if you weren’t careful and you arrived through the back door at our house you might feel as if you just stepped into Wonderland where everything is a size too small.

But as I was telling Husband this evening, I think I’d prefer H not get a vacuum. I really like that he’s using his imagination and the next closest thing to a vacuum in his miniature world happens to be a golf caddy. It pushes, it’s long and skinny with a handle… it does the trick. It takes a lot more imagination to see objects in a new way rather than adding to the collection of objects.

He does not get this imaginative gift from his mother. My gift of creativity is definately not in the land of make believe, though I wish it were. So I was telling a few friends tonight that because I’ll be spending more time at home with the kiddos, I need to be extra responsible to provide a variety of activities that encourage imagination. My old go-to is “where’s a ball?” but that probably needs to be reserved for the times that I just need. him. entertained.

So what I need is a list. I’m super at lists. I can check them off. (See? No creativity required). Songs to sing, activities to provide. Perhaps Monday morning we’ll do songs but Wednesday afternoon we’ll craft it up (which is a whole new world of needing lists and a book of ideas). I want to make “normal life” possible for H to not just watch but participate. We’ve been making these type of attempts at cooking (he LOVES!) but surely there’s a way that he can do some hands-on with the other things of life. Ways that we can open up the world to seeing things in a new light. Where golf caddies become vacuum cleaners.

Thanks to the world of Little Tykes and Baby Einstein, there are always ready-to-buy versions but I really think that they’re lacking. We just can’t buy imagination (though Playskool would like to market it like they can). So I’m trying to come up with a way to encourage that through birthday-ness, which will be here before we know it.

Of course H gets bored with his toys and we have to keep a constant rotation going, but I’m wondering if there’s a way that his gifts could be plastic-less – and not just because of some BPA warning. What kind of objects that could be purposefully placed in his path that he could play with using imagination and not just by following the instructions? A paper towel roll has as much credence in this house as the toy barn because the paper towel role can be a telescope, a megaphone, a magic wand AND a baton. The barn is… well… a barn. But we do have fun naming the animals.

So I need ideas on some “suggestive selling” to those who like to give H things. What common objects make the best toys that could become a part of H’s repertoire? How do we not just ask for a paper towel role (because, let’s face it – the grandmas will be disappointed)? And would I be Bad Mom of the Year if I asked for a list of suggested activities to go with said objects? You know, something I could check off? Because if he were to receive, say, a bag of rice, I would not be able to come up with something to put it in so that the imagination could come bursting forth. We’d probably just cook a chinese-inspired dish for dinner. But he would help cook it.

Now here’s where you come in, my bloggy friends. Comments must abound. Tell me what to do. So that I may check it off the list.

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