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October 6, 2011

Water treatment plant made with a bird feeder, prescription bottles, straws and found items.

War torn bridge made from foam board, gravel and rug hooking net.
Minute War Hammer figurines painted by hand.


     My Barbie’s car was an old kleen-x box.   Her swimming pool was the largest pot we owned.  My Barbie lived in the days before dream homes and sports cars.  My Barbie lived in the age of imagination.

     With each new generation, children have access to better and more amazing toys and gadgets.  Electronic devices are equal to those only dreamed about on Star Trek or Star Wars.  But do our children really benefit from all the accessories imaginable?  I think it is time for Barbie to downsize.

     You may hate me for these words but, Christmas is just around the corner.  There I said it.  Words that should bring joy and happiness sometimes bring dread and foreboding.  Each year parents are faced with extensive Christmas lists and an even longer to do lists.

     Not only do our little girls want the latest Barbie, for example, they also want her house, her car, her wardrobe, her pets, her friends, her sports equipment… the list goes on. 

     When I was young the Sears catalogue was our dream book.  We spent hours going through the catalogue page by page and listing all the items we desired.  We never received any of the items but it sure was fun to dream.  My girls do the same thing with the American Girl catalogue.  I don’t blame them.  I have a hard time holding myself back from buying every item in there. 

     One of my sons every year desired some large Leggo contraption, either a castle or droid tank.  Actually everyone in our family knew the exact cost of a Leggo droid tank because he would constantly compare everything we did or bought with the price of a Leggo droid tank.  Yes, we own the castle and the Leggo droid tank.

     My kids have already begun informing us of their Christmas gift desires.  Sometimes it is good to know what they truly want.  But I want to give them something they don’t know they are lacking, so I doubt they request it, imagination. 

      I have an idea and a suggestion for Christmas this year.  I want to get my children imagination this year.  Now I’m warning you up front, this is a hard gift to find.  It is pretty rare and I’m quite sure you can’t find it on E-bay.

     This gift is going to take some imagination on your part.  We may have to just dust off that old thinking cap and really be creative.  Here are the criteria for an imagination gift.

  • The gift in whole or part must require imagination to use.
  • The gift can be a project to put together or it may just need additional parts or items to be useful.  Examples:  A craft project that allows for individual design, a model that becomes part of a bigger project (like a train set), software that allows individual design, dolls with fabric for home made clothes, figurines for games that require assembly, painting or design.
  • The gift can be a book that encourages imagination if you include some instruction for additional action.  Examples: A book on Indians – include directions on how to construct a wigwam, a book on animal habitats – ideas or instructions on doing it, art books, writing books, even software that allows stories written by voice activation.

     These are just beginning ideas to wet your own creative ideas. 

     Do you have a budding artist?  Give gifts that foster that talent.  Do you have a child interested in interior design?  Find a gift that will allow them to explore this interest.  Although they want the latest technological device that does everything for them except for brushing their teeth, if you get this gift pair it with one that will allow them to play with some imagination. 

     My youngest son has amazed me with his creativity.  Last year for Christmas the big joke was that all he needed for a gift was a bag of trash.  All of my boys like to play, “War Hammer.”  One aspect of this game is creating war terrain.  Jared can take any piece of trash and transform it into some wonderful object for War Hammer.  He loves to make war torn industrial plants and objects.  He is very creative.

     Josh and Jared also love to make movies.  I have given them an assignment for the year.  They are to write a script and make a film.  Jared loves the acting and writing part and Josh loves filming.  This past weekend they were shooting war scenes.  Josh found machine gun fire recordings on his IPod and used this for sound effects while filming.  Jared and a friend spent a lot of time staging realistic hand to hand combat scenes.  Be prepared, many times a boy’s way to create is with weapons and warfare.

     My fondest memories were playing pretend in my yard with my sisters.  We had a hole in the ground a foot deep where an above ground pool was set up during the summer.  But off season it was a lava pit full of alligators.  My sister and I had to escape the giant’s castle, the swing set, and maneuver around that lava pit.  We also loved to play store with our grocery selections coming straight from the trash.  Ok you may not want your kids playing with garbage but we loved it.  We also loved to get all the neighbors to join us for, “Let’s Make a Deal.”  Everyone came in crazy outfits and we played just like they did on the TV game show.  My life was full of imagination.

     It is only October, so I am giving you a big head start on those imagination Christmas gifts.  I’m including a list of resources to help you get started.  But do take some time and bring a little imagination back into your children’s lives.

I am posting photos of Jared’s creative War Hammer terrain.  Enjoy!

JMCremps Adventure store for Boys

Vision Forum Family Catalog

Corps of Re-Discovery

American Girl

Jas Townsend & Son, Inc.   (re-enacting supplies)

Smoke and Fire     (re-enacting supplies)   (war Hammer 40K) 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Cathy McDermott permalink
    October 7, 2011 9:25 pm

    I love to see kids using their imagination. One time we saved toilet and paper towel rolls and made a castle. They played for hours . Legos, army men and barbie dolls used it. I love your writings because it causes me to remember those good times I had with the kids.

  2. October 11, 2011 9:12 pm

    I liked this one with all its early timing. Jody

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