Doll Up Storytelling

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Travis has such an imagination, a beautiful thing to foster in children, especially when it comes to understanding narrative and how to build a story. Lately, Travis has bemoaned that he’s not sure what to play with his action figures, having run through the usual games. To engage those storytelling muscles, I pulled out this neat activity.

We filled a box with a few odds and ends from around the house, the more random the better, including toy food, swords, real avocado, and sunglasses.

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Next we made a pile of a few action figures, everyone from Star Wars characters to ninja turtles to superheroes. (Note: This game works equally well with dolls or stuffed animals, whatever friends your child plays with the most!).

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Travis and I took turns first selecting a character and then giving him or her an item from the object box. We then took turns narrating the next part of our story based on the character and item.

Things rapidly got very silly, of course, including energy smoothies drunk before battle…


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…sunglasses to shield off an attack…

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…and laser-blasting keys.

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Once the bin was empty, we immediately filled it with a new set of objects to continue the tale.

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Hopefully a game like this keeps your kids busy the next time they’re tempted to say, “I don’t know what to play!”

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Tea Party Dough

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Veronika adores her two dollies these days (or as she happily says, “Baby!”). So I thought today I’d set up a tea party for her and the dolls. This super-sugary dough can really be eaten, adding a new dimension to the pretend party!

To prepare the dough, stir together 1 cup almond butter (or peanut butter), 1 cup corn syrup, 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar, and 1 and 1/2 cups powdered milk. For a vegan alternative to the milk, I used a bag of vanilla protein powder I had on hand, which worked perfectly as a substitute. The dough comes together great, neither sticky nor gooey!

Tea Party Dough (!)

I set out tea cups and plates and made sure to serve everyone.

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Veronika immediately leaped into the pretend play, helping to feed the dollies.

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She was quite pleased when she realized the dough tasted delicious.

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Candles were a wonderful addition to our play. I showed her how she could put them in the dough. It was far more fun to pull them out, of course.

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And she tried to feed the candles to the dollies as little treats!

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We also used cookie cutters, pressing fun shapes into the dough.

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In sum, I love that she’s now at an age where sensory play and imaginative play are starting to intersect.