Friday, August 27, 2010

Imagination City

Every once in a while I can see that my kids would really love to do a project.  And, not just a little project. Something that totally engages them, something open ended and creative...something that that will cause thier mom to stop what she is doing and enter their world for a while.  A few days ago I could see it my sons eyes.  My four year old had asked me to play with him multiple times and I kept responding with "sure, right after I finish this..." or "just let mama clean up these dishes first and then..." I could see that he was needing some serious mom time. 

So, I stopped, looked him in the eyes, and said the thing that I knew would make him happy.... "Do you want to build a paper city with me?" His little eyes lit up because he knew what that meant.  It meant that we were embarking on an imagination project together that was serious business.  We've done this before so I knew I was devoting a good little part of the afternoon to this "paper city" but that was the point.  We both needed it.  So what is a paper city? It's whatever you want it to be.  It's imagination at it's finest.  It starts with a pile of paper, some sharpies, crayons, scissors, and tape.

 Then, we ask the question  "so what do you want in your city?"

This time my son started out with fish.  He wanted a fish pond in his city.  He drew some fish and then I cut them out for him. 

 Soon we were creating skyscrapers from posterboard and a zoo for tiny  paper animals.

We folded the bottom part of the paper to make a little ledge so that we could tape the pictures down and they would stand upright.

 He was creating storylines and we kept on drawing and cutting and taping.  When my daughter arrived home from school she jumped right in and made some houses and a school.

 We even constructed this bus with teeny tiny people in it.

 Then, when my husband walked in from his run he sat down on the floor and drew a football field and a stadium...and a golf course (the dream city :)  We were on our way to making a two headed man (don't ask me...I just cut the stuff out) and some other people who  lived in the city but eventually it was time for dinner and homework. 

I felt happy looking at our little city as I made dinner.  It was a little momento of an afternoon well spent.  I had talked and listened and laughed with my kids and that good lookin' imaginary city was a symbol of our time together.  And after all the kids were in bed I heard little footsteps coming back down the stairs.  Then I saw a messy haired child poke his head around the corner and say "Mom....don't throw away that paper city OK?"  I smiled and agreed (I usually end up keeping them for a few days to a week until the novelty wears off)  Then, in a few months we will be ready to create a new, and totally original Imagination City.  What a great day.

Try it out.  It's quite a relaxing way to spend some one on one time with your kids.


  1. This is great! I just found your blog and I love it! This is a great project. My kids would soak it up!

  2. Ah, I needed some Candice this morning. Love it. You're always inspiring me.