If there is one thing I miss about being a kid, it's definitely the creativity and imagination I had when finding ways to spend my time. The beauty of role play and screen-free activities is that children can dream to be whoever they want to be and can use their creative little minds to execute these ideas. When I was little, I had many dreams of what or who I wanted to be and alongside my childhood best friend, we made these dreams a reality.
Growing up, Wizards of Waverly Place, was one of my favorite shows on TV. I dreamed of becoming Alex Russo, the main fictional character of the show, and wanted to have the power to cast spells and do whatever I wanted to do. What most fascinated me was the way Alex would always hide her wand in her boots. Growing up, I lived in the tropical country of Panama City, Panama, meaning boots were uncommon because of the extreme heat. Despite that, I remember buying a pair of boots and hiding my pretend wand in it, to be a wizard just like Alex's character. I even created my own spell book which had a list of chants to make my wishes come true. I would walk around my house, with my boots on, and whenever I felt mysterious, would cast a random spell on one of my family members. If I had a new idea for a spell, I would immediately write it down in my book. In my head, I was Alex Russo, both inside and outside of my house. My wand was a wooden stick, but in my eyes it held all of the magic in the world.
Alongside my childhood best friend who lived in the same neighborhood as me, we would meet up everyday after school and play outside. We lived in a small community so it was very safe to be outside walking around and playing games. Our favorite game was creating a treasure hunt. We would plant a secret treasure around our neighborhood and later create a map on paper that would mysteriously lead us to the treasure. After creating it, we would hide the paper somewhere around the community and then coincidentally find it on the ground. The best part about this game was the role play. After hiding our treasure, and creating our map, we pretended we had no idea we were the ones who hid it and continued on to find the treasure. We both became pirates in search of treasure and finding the map was like a dream come true to us. Along our map, we created obstacles that made us use our imagination to get through to the next location, getting closer and closer to our treasure.
Contrary to how I feel now, when I was little, I loved airplanes. I loved the thrill of being in the air and suddenly flying to a new country. At the playground in our neighborhood, we had a tree house combined with a slide. Our second favorite game was pretending we were pilots flying the plane. We would get on top of the tree house and make sure all of our passengers were buckled up and ready for take off. We even created our own version of turbulence with the wiggly bridge that was attached to the tree house. Once we arrived at our destination, all passengers were able to exit the plane using the slide. As pilots, we would be proud of how successful we were getting our passengers to the destination. We even pretended to be flight attendants and offered food and drinks to whoever wanted it.
We loved going to the pool, it was always one of our favorite activities. At the pool, we came up with different games that would entertain us for hours. Our favorite game was the banana slip. We had a smaller pool where you could jump on to the bigger pool. Our favorite past time was walking along the side of the small pool and pretending to slip on a banana peel accidentally and jump into the bigger pool. Every round we would pretend to be a new character with a different storyline. It was exciting to see what new story we would come up with and how we could make it funnier each round.
Pretend play is one of the greatest adventures of being a child. It is some of my fondest memories of being a child. Using your imagination and creative skills to find different games to play outside was the best part of my day. There was nothing more exciting than stepping outside with your best friend, brainstorming epic make-believe adventures to embark on!