Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Let's Pretend

If there is one thing we have always had a lot of in our house, it's imagination. Hubs will tell you my girls come by it sister and I knew how to let ours run wild. We liked nothing better than pulling something out of the dress up box my mom kept in the basement, and we could make up whole worlds built around a pair of evening gloves and my mother's discarded high heels.

Are little girls just born with an innate sense of make believe?


Like my mother before me, I made space for a dress up box in our house too.  It was full of old Halloween costumes, nightgowns, skirts and dresses I outgrew, purses that went out of fashion, shoes too scuffed for me to wear in public, aprons, and a few Bridesmaids dresses, circa 1980-something.

That's Daughter2 (on the right) wearing a dress I wore as a bridesmaid in an actual wedding back in 1984-

I guess it's true what they can wear them again! teehee.

The American Girl Dolls were a huge hit in our house, and my mother bought my own 'American girls' a lot of the period costumes. The minute they unwrapped a package containing any sort of costume or dress up, on it went.

Much more fun to open Christmas gifts while dressed like Kirsten and Felicity, don't you think?  Honestly, my girls could turn anything into a costume, case in point-

Daughter1 has a baby afghan knitted by my mother in law, wrapped around her waist. It's held up with a bathrobe tie and topped with an apron. A headscarf completes the look. Remember when girls wore scarves around their hair just because? I think this was one from my childhood, or maybe my older sister's childhood because that fad didn't last long. Daughter2 is wearing a dance skirt as a cape and an Easter bonnet from a couple years back. I think they were heading out to the garden to play their favorite game-Pioneer. Or as they liked to call it "Poor".

Don't judge...they learned about the pioneers in school and in books and if they read something, saw something, or heard something they wanted to act it out in their pretend play. They, along with some of the other politically incorrect neighborhood children, would get baskets from the house and collect berries from the bushes and set up primitive homes under the trees.  It was all very innocent as childhood games should be.

Anybody recognize the Acteen bits and pieces my youngest is modeling here?

These belonged to me once upon a time, but finding a crown, a cape, and a scepter was like striking gold for a toothless 6 year old looking for a costume. Pretty sure I enjoyed bossing my sister around with that scepter when I earned it back in the mid-1970's.  For the record, I was not six-ha!

Now for one of my faves-

My daughters wearing slips their Mema let them use as dress up clothes whenever they were at her house.  Hi Mema!  I'm guessing back in 1997 my mother did not foresee her slips being displayed in a blog, but here they are. There's also a birthday crown and some ginormous fake flowers thrown in for good measure. I don't know exactly what they were playing, but if I had to guess I'd guess bride.  Silk, crowns, works. I must also tell you their faces in this photograph just about do me in.

I'm a big believer in feeding and fueling a child's imagination. I think every house needs a cardboard box filled with pearls and polyester and the possibility of pretend.

"Think left and think right and think low and think high.  
Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!~
Dr. Seuss, Oh The Thinks You Can Think


  1. I remember dressing up in my mother's discarded clothes and my own daughter dressed up in my old clothes. Nowadays it seems they have to buy dressing up clothes to look like a character from a film.

  2. This made me smile, Joyce! Both of my girls loved playing dress up, too. My mom was a talented seamstress and made them capes, skirts, dresses, etc. to play with. I still have that box in our basement and wouldn't trade it for anything. Yes, developing a child's imagination is of utmost importance.

  3. I remember having a "dress-up" area under our basement steps when I was a kid. Tt was like a little closet underneath and we kept all the items to dress in there...and we went in as a normal kid and came out as a princess or sophisticated lady, or gypsy, or witch! My mother gave us her old dresses and costume jewelry to keep there. One long black dress in particular was used OFTEN!!

  4. Seeing these pictures of your girls just made me smile.

  5. Adorable pictures. I loved to play pretend with my friend Amy. We could go into another world for hours!

  6. This brings back such good memories of my daughters and all the girls in the neighborhood playing dress up at our house - we were known for our dress up box!

  7. How sweet. My girls received dress up clothes from their grandma or aunt (or both) bought at Good Will. They totally loved them and it seems it really wasn't that long ago they were playing dress-up. I kinda miss those days. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. believe or not my sister and I had a game we played called, "poor" and it sounds similar to what your daughter played. We'd drag around with our dress up clothes and scarves on our heads etc. I haven't thought of that in years!! haha We ALWAYS had a GIANT box of dress up type clothes (old uniforms were in there as well) and my boys used it just as much as my daughter. The world of make believe just belongs to the children doesn't it? Enjoy your day!

  9. Oh, my gosh, I smiled all through this post. I agree with you, I love when kids use their imagination and have fun with play. Mine did a lot too and I won't talk about my youth LOL I loved the photos, your girls looked so darn cute in all their dress up attire :) Lucy fromLucy's Reality

  10. I think you brought back some wonderful memories for many mothers and daughters with this post. Little girls and dress-up just seem to go hand-in-hand. The box now in my basement that my granddaughters play with includes some of their mother's old prom dresses.

  11. Wow! I love these pictures!!! Brought back so many fun memories. Ah.. the game of Poor. My very favourite. I think I may need to go through the dress-up box to reclaim some of my imagination.

  12. My girls loved to play dress p too. And make up! Boy did they love to use my make up!

  13. "Dressing up", I hope it never goes out of style! My daughter loved it, and her daughter does, too :)

  14. My girls loved pretend too. It was so much fun and it made some really special memories.

  15. Once upon a time my little sister and I played dress up. Fun!

  16. Guess that's one of the things I missed out on by having boys! I got the "white toothpaste smeared all over" so one could be a Power Ranger!

  17. The imagination of kids is awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  18. LOL! Great photos!!
    My youngest son was the one in our family who loved to "dress up". He was Superman, a Cowboy, an Indian, a Wrestler, etc. etc. Thanks for jogging my memory and bringing these memories to mind today.

  19. Oh, I have a ottoman that has storage inside and it's full of dress up clothes, shoes and jewelry for Hanna Beth. She will play for a long time with them and have such fun.

    I'm afraid the kids of today do not use their imagination nearly as much as they should due to all the gadgets available.

    Another enjoyable post!

  20. Precious post! Your daughters had such a great time growing up!

  21. I totally agree with your letter P.....I have found memories of my childhood and lots of play and imagination.

  22. I don't think I stayed in the dress-up faze for too long, except with a couple of old costumes. I had one pink princess dress, something like Glenda the good witch from The Wizard of Oz. I LOVED it. I remember wearing it basically every day after school for a while.

  23. Such adorable girls. While my sister and I never had any costumes, we made up our stories and could play at being princesses, stepmothers, and servants all in our imagination.

    Look forward to the rest of your challenge posts!
    Damyanti @Daily(w)rite
    Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2013

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    AZ blogs on Social Media

  24. Pretending is the best and we enjoyed it in our home too!
    Love the pictures Joyce, you are so good at posting them.
    I have boxes and boxes that need to be scanned when I get a new computer someday.