Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Imagine Nation

One of my very favorite lines from the movies is this one from the 1947 "Miracle on 34th Street"

This is Suzie talking to Kris Kringle about why she doesn't play with the other children her age:

Suzie: I don't play much with them. They play silly games.

Kris: They do?

Suzie: Like today, they were in the basement playing "zoo".... and all of them were animals. When I came down.. Homer, he was the zookeeper....he said, "What animal are you?" and I said, "I'm not an animal, I'm a girl." And he said "Only animals allowed."  SO I came upstairs.

Kris: Why didn't you tell them you were a lion or a bear?

Suzie: Because I'm not a lion or a bear.

Kris: But the other children were only children... and they were pretending to be animals.

Suzie: That's what makes the game so silly.

Kris: I don't think so, sounds like a wonderful game to me. Of course, in order to play it, you need an imagination. Do you know what an imagination is?

Suzie: Oh sure. That's when you see things, but they're not really there. That can be caused by other things too.

Kris: No, to me, 
the imagination is a place all by itself..... a separate country.....
You've heard of the French or British nation. 
Well this is the
Imagine nation.
It's a wonderful place.
How would you like to make snowballs in summertime? Or drive a big bus right down the Avenue? How would you like to have a ship all to yourself.....that makes daily trips to China and Australia?  How would you like to be the Statue of Liberty... in the morning, and in the afternoon.... fly south with a flock of geese?
It's very simple.
Of course it takes practice.
  The first thing you've got to learn is how to pretend. 

Isn't that beautiful? It wasn't until last Christmas that that scene really stood out to me. What a fantastic way to explain the glory of our imaginations. An entirely separate place, it's own "nation"

Those are truly profound statements. 

Since my discovery of Pinterest
(Otherwise known as www.ididn' -Our Best Bites) 
I have had a love hate relationship with it. I've been absolutely AMAZED at the brilliant things that teachers and moms have come up with for their children!! It's incredible how much talent and creativity is out there! 
I have spent hours upon hours recreating, and cutting and gluing to try and give my kids the opportunity to experience some of these great ideas.
While there have been some real gems that my children have loved and I'm sure I will find even more great ideas... I have come to the conclusion that 
kids are simple. 
They would rather you just let them play with that branch that fell off the tree, or use Easter baskets as marching drums. They are happy to use mixing bowls as top hats

 and chopsticks as wands. 
And, of course.....
sneaking baby wipes for costumes
 Claire being a princess getting married.

Sammy being the superhero of the day.... I'm going to go with either Iron Man or Spider Man on this one :)

What they really need is 
But where do they get these ideas? How do we cultivate a creative mind, how do we help them find their very own Imagine nation?

 This is a picture that my sister got at a read-a-thon. It hung in our bedroom until we we moved, after that it hung in my Dad's office... Recently they gave it to me and I love it. I haven't quite found the place to put it yet- but I love the message.

That is the answer to our question. 

I remember when I was younger my mom would organize "book clubs" for my friends and I. One night a week, she would read from a chapter book, we even had treats sometimes :) It wasn't something that was too practical as she was in the process of raising 7 children, so it didn't last long - but honestly, that didn't matter - it is a cherished memory of mine. She did this with my siblings and I as well. My parents really tried to instill a love of reading in our minds.I have pictures in my mind of my brothers on my mom's lap reading I SPY books and other stories. It was not an uncommon thing.

The glory of a book is that you can take your children anywhere on any day.... These next pictures make me particlarly happy because this was on a really bad day for me and I came in and found them like this.... 

The song from Reading Rainbow pops in my mind

Now, tell you me you can't watch that video with out feeling a like a child again... WHY didn't they keep that show going? Oh! I just love that.

In my home, bed time is bed time. They have to be in BED. But if they want to read books, they can stay up as late as they want. Sammy will pile up a dozen books and turn through every page ... it's fun to find them like this:

Yesterday, after they woke up from their naps they made this while I was taking care of Ben and talking to Mike on the phone:
 They made a "bookshelf" out of the legs of the chair.

It was so inspiring to me.. they did this all on their own and spent a long time in their little book cove. :)
They LOVE books and it seriously makes me so happy! 

Moments like this get me motivated to read to them more regularly.

I'm just barely getting back into the groove of things and this post is a reminder to me of all of the reasons to read to my children. Sure, they have looked at plenty on their own, but writing this out is to remind myself to continue to give them options by going to the library or book store and also to actually read to them more often...

 I'd LOVE to hear what your kids' favorite children's books are. 
What you do to foster that love for reading?
I'd love some new ideas
Because sometimes, kids just need to escape, just like us... only they don't have car keys or freedom. But books give them that freedom. Their own little place, their
"Imagine Nation."

I will post a few of mine later, but I'd really love to hear from you! :) I need some new ideas :)..... Please share! :)


Steve and Brooke said...

i love this post! So the problem that I'm actually having right now--is that Peyton use to LOVE books. We'd read to him at least 20-30 minutes before bed time & now all of a sudden he is like on some "book strike" Once we sit down & begin reading, it's only Bradyn that intently listens and participates and peyton is instantly wanting to leave the room, and it seems like torture as we've tried to reinforce him to participate. So...i'm on the other side right now, where I'm trying to find ways of getting him to enjoy it again!! do you have any ideas?:)

Cara and Mike said...

Brooke! Sorry I haven't responded earlier! I'm having computer troubles :) - You guys are so great to make sure to do that with them every night ... Have you tried taking him to the library? :) Maybe letting him pick out books that go with his favorite tv shows.. or read along books with CDs. When Sam started losing interest in books, I checked out super hero books for him. He looked at them for HOURS. He just got over the cutsie books I was reading, but now he loves them all.