16 • 29 OCTOBER 2006
Editorial: Improvisation and pretend play
MAKE: squishy sushi rolls
MAKE: simple sweets
4. MAKE: fancy iced biscuits
a portable ice cream stand
a pretend snack bar
7. More food ideas
8. This week's featured subscriber's blog
|1. Editorial: Improvisation and pretend play
I hate to admit it but I have always found myself daunted at the prospect of playing make believe.
As soon as my daughter invites me to step into the spaceship with her
or come to the toy's tea party I find myself groaning internally and
racking my brains for excuses as to why I can't possibly get involved.
Eventually I do participate and inevitably get into the swing of it and
have a good time, but there is no denying my initial negative reaction.
I have a strong suspicion that I am not the first parent to experience
this reluctance to play pretend, so for a while now I have been having
a look around for any helpful suggestions from other adults who are
Quite by accident I came across an interesting article about applying improvisational techniques in an educational setting. The background to the paper refers to the three fundamental tenets of
improvisation and as soon as I had read them I realised that I had
unwittingly stumbled upon the very advice I needed to celebrate the
spontaneity of pretend play.
"1. Serve the narrative –
play in real time. Listen carefully to what is being presented, then
add to it. Build upon what is offered and improve upon it, rather than
change to a different end.
2. Be fun to play with – be good-natured and give others the benefit of the doubt.
3. Make your partner look good – focus on the person you are working with and ways to make them appear brilliant."
When I consider that pretend play, like improvisation, is bigger than
any individual it helps me to open myself up to the experience. It
pleases me to think that playing make believe is a way that the kids
and I can practise listening to and responding to each other.
And with that I'd better head off – I have a fairy's tea party to attend.
Happy crafting and see you next week!
week's featured subscriber's blog
Preggers in Honkers
"I'm Karen, and as the domain name would indicate, I'm a pregnant
person living in Hong Kong. I'm a freelance journalist too. I have
another blog which is more personal, but have decided to post here
about all my pregnancy issues, both as a way of making them more
interesting to those who don't know me personally, and as a way of
retaining readers of my normal blog who probably aren't interested at
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