As a child, I could play for hours with my baby dolls or with the very simple dollhouse in our playroom. As my mom would hang our clean sheets on the clothesline, I’d pretend to knock on the sheets (doors) and come visit her to drink tea.
Dramatic play was always my favorite type of play. My favorite childhood memories include make-believe and pretending.
When Nasko first came home, he just wanted to run. And be crazy. And bite things. Not so into the whole dramatic play scene.
Recently though, Nasko has finally built up enough real-life experiences that they are starting to overflow into his play.
Today I decided to document some of his simple dramatic play. It was an especially fun scene, as it used some toys and materials that were already out and available, in addition to some materials that Nasko and I gathered from other rooms.
It began by using a road that we set up for his buses yesterday. He pointed to his dollhouse (which usually serves as Baba’s house) and said, “school.”
He then began to dig in his toys until he found the driver of one of his other toy buses. He found her and an additional girl, and put them on top of one bus. He (clear-as-day, for the first time ever) said “Becky?” and pointed to the driver. For summer school, Nasko’s driver was Miss Becky! His bus monitor was Shelly (I believe) and she had blond hair just like the other girl he put on the bus. He pointed to this girl and indicated that she was the “teacher who rode the bus to school.”
For summer school, there were always 4-5 buses lined up outside the school taking turns dropping off students. While playing today, Nasko made the buses drive to the front door and take turns dropping off their passengers.
At one point, Nasko signed “Mama, bus?” This summer, I was able to ride the bus with Nasko a few times. Typically, I rode when we were heading out on field trips.
Since he wanted me along for the ride, I found Little People that somewhat resembled Nasko and me.
Then, I asked Nasko where we were going. If Mama was riding the bus, we must have been going to the park, the zoo, or McDonald’s.
His first response was “Zoo.”
So, I ran to Nasko’s room and dug out his little plastic animals. Mama and Nasko’s action figures boarded a bus (with Miss Becky) and rode to our makeshift zoo. We then held hands and walked through the zoo naming all the animals we saw.
When Nasko grew tired of that, we boarded the bus again. I asked him if we were headed to McDonald’s or the park now (always trying to extend playtime!) Nasko responded with “McDonald’s!”
Because of his response, I moved his gas station closer to the road and pretended to have our Mama and Nasko action figures go down the “slide.” Thus, the gas station became McDonald’s PlayPlace!
Nasko started to sign “french fries” as we were playing in the PlayPlace. Duh! This is Nasko’s favorite part of McDonald’s.
So, I hopped up again, and got some of Nasko’s pretend food from his room – five french fries and a hamburger patty (no bun, and no cheese of course, because of his gluten and dairy intolerances). Nasko asked for a table, so we overturned one of his toy buckets. Nasko and Mama’s figures “sat down” and took turns “eating” the play food.
Eventually Nasko said “All-done McDonalds?” I agreed and began singing his “All-done Song” from school (“Hey, hey, hey, we’re leaving here today. Ho, ho, ho, it’s time for us to go!”) He sang along as we boarded the bus again!
While Nasko was pushing the bus, he said, “school” and drove himself back to our makeshift school. When he first put his action figure into the school, he took two rocks (from the zoo) with him. I didn’t understand what he was doing, but he kept signing/saying “eat.” Finally, he pointed to our cabinet and signed “marshmallow.” It dawned on me that he was pretending the rocks were marshmallows.
While in summer school, Nasko’s one-on-one aide carried mini marshmallows in his cargo short’s pocket. When Nasko would “good sit” for a certain period of time, he would be rewarded with a mini marshmallow.
When I realized what he was communicating, I hopped up (there was lots of that going on, obviously!) and retrieved another one of Nasko’s Little People to represent Mr. Ryan, Nasko’s one-on-one aide. I put Mr. Ryan in the “school” with Nasko and his marshmallows.
Nasko also retrieved a toy dog and put it into the school. Again, Mama had to think for a minute as Nasko kept calling the dog “Allen,” but I could not understand why he thought Allen belonged at the school.
Then I remembered the summer school dog. At the SASED building where Nasko attended summer school, there is a giant dog that the school has adopted. He roams the neighborhood, but when there are children at the school, he is always present! The dog is allowed to go in the school, and is regularly used as a reward for children with good behavior; if the children have a good day, then the dog can come visit the classroom.
I can’t, for the life of me, remember this dog’s name, but it makes sense as to why Nasko wanted the dog in his school!
I can only imagine the other play scenes that will be created in our home as Nasko’s life experiences broaden. We had so much fun today, and I hope that these moments of dramatic play will also become some of Nasko’s favorite childhood memories!