Do Your Kids Pretend Play Like Toy Story?

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By Gabrielle. Image is a still from the movie.

I’ve got a question for you. On our drive to the South of France, the topic of Toy Story came up and I asked my kids, “Do you ever remember playing with your toys the way Andy in Toy Story does?”

It occurred to me that though they have all done lots of pretend play over the years, I’ve never seen them do anything even close to how Andy played with his toys — setting up a scenario and sort of acting it out. And as a kid myself, I don’t remember playing that way either.

That made me me wonder. Do other kids play like Andy does? Or was it just good imagination on the part of the screenwriters? I don’t mind at all if it was just made up for the benefit of the script, but I’m curious to know if it’s common and I just haven’t seen it in person.

I know that different kids use different play-styles, and I know there are certain toys that my kids never really got into, even though they were around — like racetracks and matchbox cars. I also have a distinct memory from my niece Edie’s second birthday. She received a doll and a little doll feeding set with a bib, and bottle and binkie. She was over the moon! She immediately started parenting the heck out of that doll — cradling it, feeding it, diapering it. It was the cutest thing! Ben Blair and I laughed that none of our 4 daughters, or 2 sons, ever played pretend parenting. And there were (and still are) lots of dolls around. As far as dolls go, mostly my kids like to dress them up and design outfits for them. Hah!

How about you? How did you play as a child? If you have kids (or grandkids), do they play the same or differently than you did? Any Toy Story types out there? Anyone reading that has never seen Toy Story and have no idea what I’m talking about? I’d love to hear!

96 thoughts on “Do Your Kids Pretend Play Like Toy Story?”

  1. I don’t know that I ever had the elaborate detail that Andy does, but I was/am animal crazy and played endlessly with Beanie Babies and Puppy in my Pockets (the originals). I seem to remember the best part being setting up the “world” for the toys, but there was definitely a fair bit of acting out what the animals would be doing as well.

    1. If elaborate detail is the hallmark of playing “like Toy Story” then yes, both my 5 year old and 3 year old do. So did I! I love listening to them play – it’s really entertaining!

  2. Kids are all so different- it depends on their personalities. My younger son creates elaborate scenarios with toys and goes on and on about them! He’s definitely the character actor of the family. My older son is Mr. Logic, much more like me. I can remember being in kindergarten watching kids play in the’home living center’- cooking, cleaning… I remember thinking, ‘why would anyone want to PLAY doing that? That’s all the stuff my mom hates doing! Ha!

  3. My two oldest do. They combine Lego, Playmobil, and other random characters and create stories. Bobble-head Hulk is Elsa’s son and sometimes he and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle get into arguments. I try to keep mostly generic character items around but they manage to change the stories of the specific characters, so it works. My husband did a lot of building and designing as a kid so he’s really surprised by the different way they play. I think there are lots of different ways of creative play but my two oldest mostly play the Andy way.

    1. Hannah Beth Reid

      We have a generic Little People doll who is Wonder Woman’s son Wonder Boy because he has a star on his shirt…haha!

  4. My 6 year old daughter is lucky enough to have 3 generations of Barbie – some are hers, some were mine, and some were my Mom’s. There are enough dolls, clothes, and furniture to fill three large bins, one for each category. She loves to get them all dressed up and create elaborate scenarios for why they’re styled that way – beach party, royal ball, school, rock concert, etc. I love to play with her, as well as just sit back and listen to what she comes up with next.

  5. Yes! Elaborate set-ups that take over her room! Calico Critters, Lego Friends and Polly Pockets are my daughter’s favorites. She acts out all sorts of stories and then writes/illustrates them all in books.

  6. YES – my daughter does and it’s the sweetest sound to hear. It’s like listening to talk radio; soothing and semi-boring. It also gives me an insight on what she picks up from her world around her.

  7. Not quite that elaborate, but I remember playing with dolls and Barbies as a kid. I’d play family with the dolls, or take them to the “Doctor.”

    My son just turned 4, and he’s recently started pretend play. We’ll hear him talking with his Lego (Ninjago) figurines, who will be kicking and fighting and reasoning with each other. He does similar things with race cars and Paw Patrol.

  8. Yes, my son did (he’s a little older now). He would create scenarios with his trucks/lumberjacks, etc. He also would play with monster trucks and create competitions in which the trucks had personalities. It was really sweet to eavesdrop on this pretend play.

  9. My brothers and sisters and I always played like that. Little people, barbies, GI Joe, even being characters ourselves. Everything was elaborately set up and acted out. We had continuing story lines as well. We even made most of our doll furniture and houses to fit our stories.
    My daughter played in a similar way with her dolls. Though not as elaborate.
    My son has autism so his way of play was much different, but no less imaginative. I remember he would collect toys and small objects from all over the house and arrange them on the coffee table in intricate displays that looked like works of art!

    1. Love hearing about your son arranging objects. It reminds me that though our matchbox car collection didn’t do much racing, it was sometimes organized in careful lines, either by color or size.

  10. My daughter is turning 2 soon so is just falling into this world of elaborate pretend play. Right now she’s really into stuffed animals – changing their pretend diapers, giving them a pacifier, putting them to bed. Not so much dolls… unless we are in the toy store and then I think that maybe I should buy them. (sneaky)

  11. My kids definitely had that elaborate play like Andy. Sometimes the way they immersed themselves in their make-believe worlds and referred to their toys I half-wondered whether they really knew they were just toys. Now my kids are teenagers who want to be either authors or screenwriters, so maybe the style of play is related to their personality.

    1. Yes!!!! My 8 year old still plays like that-dreaming up such elaborate imaginary scenarios that sometimes it’s hard to pull him back to reality. He’s super artistic on top of that. I’m excited to see how his career/academic interests unfold.

  12. I’m chiming in because nobody else has mentioned this yet – there is a whole YouTube world out there of videos where people pretend play with toys. Somehow my son stumbled upon these videos when I gave him my phone for distraction once and now he loves to watch them endlessly. It’s kind of hilarious. These are grownups who go out and buy toys – anything from hotwheel track sets to my little ponies – and then set them up and play with them, sometimes acting out elaborate plots along the way.
    My son didn’t do a lot of pretend play before but now he does constantly after watching these videos. It’s like they jumpstarted his imagination in a way.

    1. Yes! my kids were really influenced by that too! My 11-year-old daughter still plays that way with her petshops, but the stories are “middle-school” oriented, she got the idea from some Youtube videos! It’s really fun to listen to -although she doesn’t want me to!

  13. My oldest two do. My son even includes theme music for different “games,” voices and accents for different characters, and these stories and characters can be sustained over weeks. Like others have mentioned, writes and illustrates stories for them too. I don’t remember playing so much like that –I was more into building and designing and board games like my 3rd son. But my husband seems to have no problem getting into their imaginary worlds and playing with them when he gets a chance!
    An interesting book I read talks about the “nurture” side of this discussion. It’s called “simplicity parenting” and one of his theories is that children need fewer toys and the ones they do have should allow for imaginary play by being simple (not a lot of lights and noises) or have all the design work done for them. He goes so far as to say that when you get rid of toys with lights and noises they will develop more imaginary play. I agree with him to a point but I do think every child is different and are more or less inclined to imaginary play

  14. I most definitely did! My mom often comments on how, of her 3 children, I was the one that spent the most time playing by myself. I mostly set up pretend school. I would teach whatever actual kids I could force to sit still for up to an hour, but I also would line up my dolls and stuffed animals. I would teach for hours on end, I even had a chalkboard, whiteboard, and asked for a pointer one year for Christmas (though I never did get that one!). I would also teach imaginary students. I would even give them names. I was never particularly attached to most of my stuffed animals/dolls though- there were only 3 that I really cared about- the first doll I ever got, who was named after my cousin (I actually still have her- can’t seem to bring myself to get rid of her), a stuffed dog (who I loved as if it were a real dog, also still have), and a stuffed teddy bear (which I think I was only attached to because it was a “get well” bear given to my dad when he was in the hospital for several weeks due to nearly-fatal complications from appendicitis when I was quite young).

    1. Hannah Beth Reid

      I played office in much the same way. I’d write checks, answer the phone and take messages, and type letters on an old typewriter. It was heavenly! My mother would let me take over the dining room table for days to do this, which now as a mom I realize probably wasn’t always easy and I so appreciate it!

    2. Me too! I used to set up my dolls and stuffed animals and play school! When I wasn’t playing school, I was reading or writing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my own children do that though. Mine were more into either physical stuff , or building whole elaborate Lego cities… Our oldest, a girl, was never into dolls at all. She is a trained pilot now. Her younger brother loved her dolls, and has always loved babies and small children. He works as an occupational therapist. It’s interesting to see how their mode of play has influenced them later on…

      1. I love that you mentioned future careers- I just graduated from college with a degree in Childhood (elementary) Education and am currently working as a TEFL teacher in the Peace Corps! Unlike many of my peers, I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up!

  15. I absolutely did as a child- I had elaborate storylines and scenes that lasted for weeks, if not months. My friends and I would often play an extended scene over many weekend play dates. I also often took the plot of my favorite books and acted them out.

  16. YES! I never played like that, and my oldest doesn’t either. However, then my son #2 came along. I adore watching him play. He can take just a single action figure and enter his own little universe, complete with sound effects and voices, battlegrounds, characters. It’s amazing to watch. He can play completely on his own, because of course, he isn’t alone – he’s got all his toys with him. Really, really cool.

  17. Awe Toy Story. A family favorite in our home.

    My oldest son started imaginative play with Toy Story characters. For over a year, he never went anywhere without his Buzz and Woody dolls. They were his best friends, and he was their Andy. He would set up elaborate rescue missions to save some member of the Toy Story cast. Sometimes the whole family got involved when several characters had to talk and give a hand in the rescue mission. He’s now moved onto creating just as elaborate Lego creations and writing his own comic books.
    I saw my youngest son pull out the Toy Story bin last week and set everything up all over his bedroom floor. It just warmed my heart.

  18. We definitely did in my family, and so does my son. It’s fun listening to him narrate what his various trains or stuffed animals are doing.

    Curious, though – how else would you play with toys (other than building toys or games, I mean)? What else is there to do with a doll, stuffed animal, action figure, or any other such toy?

  19. I have a question for the commenters above: Do you see any correlation to parenting style and the way your kids play?
    -Back in the day, yes, my siblings and I had backstories and thought out scenarios while we played indoors and out, we were borderline neglected, healthy, but left on our own all the time.
    My own kids played with lots of imagination, lots of pretend and fantasy, 50/50 split of indoor/outdoor play, and of course, lots of “HOT LAVA!” mixed in! I was a SAHM, but taught them early to self soothe, self entertain, and to problem solve all but the big hairy scary problems. I was attentive and close by but wanted to teach them to be strong and independent.

    My grand kids: 3 different ideas on parenting goes like this:
    House 1, extreme limits on videos, tv, and focus on self entertainment, problem solving, crafts and art projects almost daily, reading daily, practising (school) skills daily, many day trips to experience new things, people, etc., 50/50 indoor/outdoor activity, etc. = imaginative play with detailed story lines, backstories, etc.; even while playing outdoors without toys and only nature to contend with.
    House 2, this house also has kids self entertain, but parents are more involved with problem solving; little or no arts/crafts, due to location- limited day trips, lots of screen time, movies, video, and or electronic entertainment (even on short car trips to the store, etc) and about 50% of time book reading = almost no imaginative or creative play that isn’t already part of the toy (legos are made into the design on the box, Barbie is who she is on the box). children tend to get “bored” often, but easily find amusement in switching whatever activity to another.
    House 3, the children are 99% involved with an adult during the day, lots of creative play usually led to by the children, but directed by the adult; lots of reading, art and crafts weekly – but not everyday and in short bursts, adults problem solve and entertain, video, movies, and or electronics daily, but limited = imaginative play, but sticking close to whatever the toy was designed to do -with the exception of blocks or other building type toys. This house cannot self entertain or problem solve and find being without an adult frustrating and difficult.

    All of the children in these houses are above average intelligence, happy, well, and do well in school and peer social situations. The parents are all caring, doting, and fun with their kids = happy families, just different with different play.

    So, is there a correlation between imaginative play and parenting style?

    1. My family fits the correlation you’re suggesting. We had no screen time at all, and my mom was a big believer in us kids learning to play on our own; she never got involved in our games or played with us, and was the opposite of a helicopter parent in terms of supervision, and all of us did elaborate pretend-play all the time – so much so that I remember the sensation of coming off an hours-long pretending game almost as a kind of withdrawal. I try to parent the same way and my son plays just the same way we did.

      I’ve also noticed that children I’ve babysat over the years whose parents regularly play with them tend to be incapable of self-directed imaginative play.

    2. I have always thought this would be an absolutely fascinating area for study. In my family’s case, I really don’t believe there is a correlation (or a major one, anyway) between parenting style and play style, because although we are a low technology household with lots of opportunity for free play time, both inside and outside, my more extroverted 9 year old son has never engaged much in imaginative play and usually needs a friend or a sibling to play. On the other hand, my introverted 7 year old daughter engages in imaginative play extensively, and has ever since she was 2. She can create elaborate storylines wherever we are, inside or out, using nothing more than sticks or rocks. She actually seems to NEED this alone imaginative play time to process her day and recharge.

      I’d love to know if there’s a correlation between imaginative play and career choice, academic success, introversion/extroversion, happiness later in life, etc. It seems like a great area for study.

  20. My three daughters played pretend a lot, evan at 11 and 13 the two youngest still do. They’ve always been into play mobile and we have huge bins of it which they would create whole cities out of. Sometimes they would play out scenarios, but usually they would spend most of the time setting everything up with incredible detail, before getting bored and moving onto something else. They also had/have American Girl dolls they would dress up for school/balls/events and would also often make clothes for. More often then either of these though they would play dress up, we have huge bins of all sorts of vintage clothes, princess dresses, and much much more, and the three of them would act out whole stories. Favourites of theirs included being ballerinas, Marie Antoinette, and going to high school.

    1. Yes! Dress ups. The most pretend play my kids did (and do) is with dress ups instead of toys. Writing play and acting them out. Or coming up with a character and then figuring out the perfect outfit for that character. Although sometimes the toys get worked in — like a stuffed animal might become a pet of one of the actors.

  21. We have 2 sons and they play very differently. My 6 year old does a ton of imaginative play with intricate set ups that can span multiple rooms in our house — complete with multiple characters, voices, etc.

    My 8 year old is more task oriented and likes to complete something (a lego set, a book, a drawing….) although he is also imaginative in other ways.

    1. My oldest daughter is more similar to your 8-year-old. Her creativity came out when she made things. She was very good with her hands from a young age and could use scissors, tie and untie knots, and create all sorts of things.

  22. My son who is four definitely doesn’t pretend play like Andy. He mostly plays with cars and trucks and will give them a good, “vroom vroom!” or, “choo choo” and things like that, but definitely no scenarios. Our daughter who is two definitely parents her baby dolls, which I think is adorable, especially since she has special needs and isn’t walking yet, so it’s always even cuter to see the things she picks up on like that.

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  23. Yes! My room alternated between a schoolhouse during the day with me as the teacher two my two American girl dolls – I loved making homework sheets on our ancient Mac – and a home at night with my two “daughters.” I also played elaborate make believe games with my best friend based on Little Women and the Little Princess where we would stay in character for hours inventing stories and scenarios in her backyard, making kitchens with sticks and stones, and love stories galore. We also made up elaborate worlds and scenarios together for our American Girl dolls. Those were the days!

  24. My son definitely makes up elaborate scenarios with his toys — it doesn’t matter which ones. He has always been really good at playing by himself, in his head. I was the same way, and would make up elaborate games in my head. It may have something to do with being the youngest and not having many kids to play with. My son is also the youngest and 5 years younger than his only sister.

  25. Maybe not with toys…..but my son from age 4 on was so into whatever sport was in season. He would throw the football in the air down the yard, run and catch it, tackle himself and then hop up and do the referee call to boot!! He would play for hours in our yard by HIMSELF and do 4 quarters whether it was football, basketball or baseball, keeping score and stats along the way. Thankfully, I videoed him when he was little and didn’t know I was watching. It’s our favorite thing to watch. He’s 25 now, a statistics major and refs intramural sports to put himself through college. :)

  26. YEs!!! Yes!!! My kids pretend and dream up scenarios all the time. And we have not watch the new movie yet but we are dying mad to do so. It breaks my heart overtime when we watch one the original TOY STORY and he goes off to college. I sink real low in my seat everytime we watch this part of the film.

  27. Yep, my two oldest definitely play this way. Currently, they have an elaborate “Europe in the 1800s” game going on in our music room, with Magnatile and Lincoln log and block cities built in Spain (under the piano), Italy, and France. They love to design clothes for their play animals, so all the Schleich and Ostheimer and dime store animals have names and outfits and personalities. They sail between countries and trade and kings and queens intermarry. They have battles and pirates and secret passageways under the couch. It’s all pretty epic. I’m actually trying to photograph it, because I think they will forget (they are five and seven), and I would love to have this kind of record of my childhood imagination!

  28. This reminds me of a blog post by Gretchen Rubin, about “what is your play personality?”

    Kids who play like Andy are probably “Storytellers” I think (including my 6 year old, and my husband!) I think I have always been more of the “Artist/Creator” when I play -drawing and designing things. There are a bunch more play styles and I’m sure we are all combinations of a few.

  29. I don’t remember doing pretend play, but I have watched something develop with my now-9-yearold daughter that I find strange – when she and her friends do pretend play, they direct each other on what to say, rather than allowing each of them to act out spontaneously. One will say, “Ok, now your going to take your Barbie over the hot lava and she’ll tell my Barbie to ‘Watch out!'” The other kid will say “Ok, ‘Watch out for the hot lava!’ Now you tell my Barbie to …”

    1. Hannah Beth Reid

      My 6 and 4 year old children do this to each other all.the.time! I would think they’d find it very obnoxious, but they get along fine.

  30. I had to read the comments to find out how Andy played in Toy Story – no idea! I’ve seen parts of it years ago, but retained no memory. I probably didn’t think it memorable because I crafted elaborate stories while playing and thought everyone did!

  31. Hannah Beth Reid

    This is a super interesting question! Some of this may be a learned skill. My husband makes a story and a toy out of any situation and my kids have watched that when he plays with them. And my almost 2 year old son already makes toys talk and dance.
    My children do play like Andy in Toy Story. My 6 year old daughter sets up stories and acts out all the characters and gets her 4 year old brother to do some of it with her. And when my daughter plays outside, she is unlikely to play with balls or games. She makes up a story and acts it out herself using sticks and plants or sand or dirt tools…and again, gets her little brother to participate as much as possible.
    I think as a child I was very similar, but probably more practical and less creative than my kids just because that’s how their wired (and perhaps what they’ve been exposed to so far). I had a good friend who played dolls by dressing them and putting them to bed so she could go do something else…haha! That always annoyed me because I wanted to actually play dolls. :)
    I think this way of play tends to be very messy and unorganized to the outside observer. My children don’t get out one box and play with the toys in that box…they get out five boxes and get a few items from each box to build their story world. I’m learning to accept that not everything that “goes” together necessarily works together in their stories.
    Thank you for this stimulating conversation!

    1. Thinking of play being a learned skill, I also wonder how much having siblings can affect play style. Not just number of siblings, but how close they are in age and how influential the older ones are.

  32. Thanks for the line ” She immediately started parenting the heck out of that doll”
    Made me laugh and made my day!

  33. Yup, very elaborate play- and when friends come over, they usually join right in! We got a new pool toy- a plastic whale with little fish you catch with it. Immediate they were all named, then played for an hour with the set, then put on a practiced show for all of us! Watching/listening to the kids play scenarios is one of our favorite things

  34. I used to play like that all the time as a child! I was still a child when Toy Story first came out (is that showing my age?) and I used to leave my toys in room and shut the door so they had the chance to come alive while I was gone! They were always very good at getting back to their original positions by the time I ran back in though…

  35. I think it may also be an only child/eldest child thing. I did this a lot as an only, and my daughter does now, too!

  36. Interesting theory that it’s an eldest/only child thing. I played like that for hours, and so does my son (who is now 4). Even before he could really talk my son would drive his Matchbox cars around a pretend town or walk his “guys” (Little People) all around. Now he talks out loud to himself as he plays and I love eavesdropping on the scenarios he is imagining. They are often based on things we have done in real life, but then they get really elaborate!
    I had two siblings just slightly younger than me but I always preferred playing and imagining alone, mostly because (like my son) I liked to imagine very detailed and elaborate scenarios and my siblings didnt have the patience for that. They played a lot more games together. They were always out in the driveway playing basketball or riding bikes or setting up obstacle courses to run, and I was much less interested in that.

    My daughter is almost 2 and she doesn’t seem to have the same interest in little figurines as her brother did at her age, although she is way more interested in dress up stuff (hats, shoes, etc.) That stuff never held his interest until recently, and even then he only dresses up occassionally, so I am glad she is getting some use out of it.

    Funny how different kids in the same family can be!

    1. I wonder if some of it is also related to introvert/extrovert tendencies. Perhaps some kids get their energy restored by playing alone, while others get their energy from playing with others. Or maybe the toys count as “others” when there are no kids around to play with. Who knows?

  37. My daughter is constantly parenting her dolls. Both my daughter and my son use a variety of different toys to set up elaborate scenarios such as “kids” getting ready to for school and then going to school and coming home for nap time.

  38. My kids pretend play ALL the time but without using any real toys. They re-enact real life scences and change them. They are either at school, at the airport (where the couch is the plane and they have bags around them as their luggage) or other places they’ve been before. Even their babysitter says they are masters at it. The conversations between them are very entertaining.

  39. Growing up playing was serious business. We had a playroom and it was more of a dungeon, but hours and days were spent there. There was structure. My own kids would play in the toyroom and it was always just one giant toy explosion. A mess! I don’t think they took care of their stuff. I also rarely bought toys, but every time we cleaned up we gave a giant garbage bag to Goodwill and still had a ton. Christmas and handmedowns add up. I loved dolls a lot and didn’t really mother them, but collected them. I love American girls dolls now and if I had one daughter, she’d have the entire sets, but I have only daughters so they don’t get the whole set. Instead of it looking nice like the magazine, it’s a mess. I think they have had such a different upbringing. A lot more stimulation through travel and not a lot of playmates besides each other. Just cause no neighbor kids.

      1. It is so sweet, and hilarious, listening to the grown children describe this imaginary game, especially now that their dad is gone. There were 12 of them. Warning: it will make you cry!

  40. I never played in the way Andy did in Toy Story, in fact I distinctly remember feeling very awkward, almost embarrassed, when I would go to friend’s houses and they would want to play games that way, I just felt so weird pretending to be lots of different characters all at once. On the other hand I loooooved playing with my babies, pretending to be their mum, going on adventures and doing everyday “mother” things. It was different in that I was acting it out myself instead of being lots of individual characters like one would whilst playing Sylvanian Families and Barbies. I played by myself and also with two of my friends till we were quite old, later than all of our other friends and now I am a nanny, I think I was just born with a love of babies. Looking back, I only really stopped playing with dolls when a close family friend had a real baby for me to fuss over. In saying all that though, some of the kids I look after play in “Andy style” so I guess it just comes down to personality and each individual child. Interesting topic though, I study psychology and would love to learn more now that you’ve brought it up.

  41. Yes! My youngest (3 yrs old) mothers all 4 of her baby dolls as if they were real babies. It is so sweet! My oldest (15 yrs old) did the same. Tea parties and pretend ballerinas, etc. My son less so. Mostly Lego and SkyRail engineering, etc.

  42. I definitely remember elaborate pretend when I was younger. Dress up, play food, stuffed animals as fellow characters: really more of the “Bonnie” character in Toy Story (When the stuffed animals talk about “doing a lot of improv” I about lost my mind!).

    My own kids pretend as well: our oldest (5) does a lot of mothering in her pretend, using dolls or stuffed animals as babies-she asks me a lot of questions about parenting babies (she and her brother are our foster kids and only moved in a few months ago, so she has never seen me or any of her previous foster homes with infants, so I think she’s fascinated). So, I show her how it’s done as best as I can guess! Ha!
    My son (almost 4) will participate in his sister’s pretend, but on his own will mostly play cars or build out of legos. I don’t hear him creating pretend things just yet, but time will tell.

  43. I’m one of those who doesn’t know anything about Toy Story. As a Granny I have experience on two sets of kids-my own and my grandchildren. My daughter played with dolls, stuffed toys and made up imaginary worlds. My son spent his time watching Mr. Wizard and conducting science/math experiments. My daughter is now Mom to triplet girls, aged 4. We live in the same city so I see them alot. They love stuffed animals, all the princesses and their attendant animals, and pretending they are themselves, kittens. As there are three of them it is a constant stream of talking- so funny. Recently my 21 month old grandson visited from London. He spent his time stacking and unstacking blocks and putting object in size order. All of these children have been offered other toys-no, they play with what they like.
    Growing up my family did not have TV(this was in the 50’s 60’s,)-I read constantly and played being a parent with my dolls. My neighbourhood had some 32 kids altogether. We all played outside until the Moms called us in. One of my favourite memories. Sadly, the world isn’t as ‘safe’ now.

    Just look at the amount of responses. How great! Everyone should play more!

    Cheers,
    Alison (friend of Sandi L. in France)

  44. My two girls pretend play like crazy!! But my two boys never really did. The girls did it for a long period of time too, like from about age 3 1/2 to age 5. My first daughter would make up large scenes or scenarios with anything….not just toys. She used shampoo bottles or anything under the bathroom sink, really. Lotion, perfume, fingernail polish, etc. it was super annoying at the time because she would always get it all out and play but then never clean up. Looking back though, it was really cute and really imaginative.

  45. My brother and I were very much Andy-style players. We’d get all his Star Wars action figures and my My Little Ponies and our Care Bears and stuffed animals, and create big adventures for them. With friends, I’d play the same way with Barbies and other dolls. I never wanted to play school or house or other games that mimicked adult behaviors–I always wanted to create scenarios for my toys and dolls to act out.

  46. My daughter still plays like Andy at 11. We have had mediaeval wedding ceremonies, Indian Bollywood parties, restaurants, rocket trips to Mars and the moon, a travel agency business, archaeological digs with palaeontologists, lots of schools, lots of building cities and railways, murder mysteries. The list in endless. We are very fortunate to have playmates of the same age living right next door and they do this together. It is wonderful to watch. They also write and perform operas and plays and use an outdoor area as the stage. My husband has had to rig up special lighting that they can control. It makes me happy to see them being creative like this. Screens have little appeal and I am glad I do not have that battle with her.

  47. I used to read books and then act them out with my barbies. I would also make my barbies sit through church on Sunday in and reenact the different parts of the three hour block. I loved playing with dolls, my baby alive doll was real to me and I loved taking care of her.

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