Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The cat always gets it in the end

We try to work with our boys on ways to express imagination. My husband told me about how as a boy he used to tell stories with his Grandpa. They would make up a story and take turns adding bits and pieces to it, but it always ended in the same way. There was a cat and it died.

Titan’s Grandpa was not a cat person. I’m a cat person. However, I can appreciate adding a predictable yet humorous twist to signal the end of an imaginative story game. I’m sure the anticipation would build up as he waited for his Grandpa to introduce the cat and then promptly off it.
Our boys both struggle with abstract thinking and have difficulty coming up with their own ideas. We knew that this type of repetition, coupled with an exercise in imagination could be quite beneficial for them.
A few months ago Titan decided to try his Grandpa’s story-telling trick for the first time. He scooped up Monkey into his lap and they sat together in the big recliner. Titan explained what they were going to do, and then they began creating a story together.
Titan started it off in some familiar territory, talking about a boy that was similar to Monkey. He figured it would be easier for Monkey to create interesting details about something he could easily talk about. Titan got things rolling and then prompted Monkey to add something to the story, like talking more about the boy and what adventures he had.
They went back and forth for several minutes, each adding their own stamp on the story. The fun was seeing how the story progressed and what unexpected turns took place. Then, as the story was winding down, Titan weaved in the doomed cat who quickly met an untimely demise. Poor thing. Titan chuckled, as I imagine he would have when he was a boy playing the story game with his Grandpa. Monkey couldn’t help but follow suit and also laugh.
They had lots of fun creating a story and then killing the cat. I guess boys will be boys!  
How do you engage your child’s imagination?
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