Many parents think they might be zombies by the night of Halloween. It might be time for the ultimate rescue: a Halloween blanket fort zoo.
Need a few minutes of focused time so you can get costumes or other Halloween details done? Although it tends to use a whole room, a blanket fort does contain the action to that space. Plus, it can be adapted to practically anything.
Our GORF, or good ol’ reliable fort, was a zoo for a round up of stuffies. I suspect this was Big Sister’s idea but it was endorsed by Little Sister: the stuffies needed Halloween costumes. To confess, the idea may have been inadvertently inspired by me. After all, I was sewing. Fortunately, an assortment of hats from the dress-up trunk was enough. The deer hat fit best on the cougar. Since this was a zoo, the animals were sorted out according to type and assigned to a space. This took quite a big chunk of time, along with feeding the animals an assortment of wooden block food.
Pretend play is a treat for brains. Not only is it a powerful and complex tool for thinking and creativity, it’s also a gateway for interacting with the world emotionally. Kids can imagine being scared, hurt, angry, or anxious and feel those emotions to a controllable level. As they play, kids can take a variety of roles, such as the boss, the zookeeper, the parent, or the baby and try it on for size. Just like a costume, what words and actions fit each part?
Connecting thinking and action in imaginative play requires both decision making and planning. Kids need to choose what to do and they need to organize how they will do it. They use language purposefully as they interact with others, no matter if those others are real or pretend.
Halloween involves imagining on a grand scale. Blanket forts are a safe and secure place. Perhaps, this is kind of like having both tricks and treats?