Debutots guest blog: Making Pretend Play a Reality

Lucy Smith, Debutots Franchisee, tells how she discovered how to really play with her children.

Einstein once said “Logic takes you from A to B, but imagination will take you everywhere”.  Not one of his more famous discoveries, I admit, and as a busy mum with two energetic and demanding young children, not one I might have considered particularly relevant to my life.  However, I’ve learnt that Einstein was more than just E = mc2.

If your days with your kids are anything like mine were, their need for play and attention is in a constant battle with your need to get the washing on, load the dishwasher, go to the post office, ring the bank, even just take a shower!  I used to end my days feeling like I had done nothing properly all day…as a mum or otherwise.

I did think I gave my children loads of opportunities to play imaginatively.  I would set up something for them to do as I got on with my jobs and would chip in here and there as they played… “Sorry Charlotte, Mummy’s just on the phone.  Quickly then…Oooh yes, your giraffe does look poorly…why don’t you give him some medicine whilst I just finish my phone call.”  Sound familiar?

My Einstein revelation came when I discovered Debutots, and I realised my definition of play was a little different from theirs!  Home activities, as I said, had been varied and I thought pretty creative and interactive, and I’d always participated in classes I took them to: mostly singing songs under my breath and pulling various props and instruments out of their mouths…but I did take part!  However, on discovering Debutots it suddenly hit me -I had actually missed out on something massively important and freeing as a mum: letting my imagination go with my children’s.

The basis of the Debutots class, be it Baby Story Play or Early Years Drama, is learning through story, drama and play.  What’s so different though is that the learning is for parent and child alike because the classes are really about getting you to play creatively with your little one within the story world.  If our story has grumpy monkeys, we’ll swing about with grumpy faces together.  If we meet a snake who wants to learn the Tangled Tango, we’ll all slither about on the floor having a go.  It’s silly, it’s fun, it’s full of laughs, but most of all it’s your time, as mum or dad, to forget about all your other jobs and get down on the floor with your child and play with them.

Debutots has changed my work life, as I now run the classes myself, but it’s also inspired the way I play and interact at home with my children.  I’ve learned that playing isn’t just about “playtime”; it’s about all the time.  And with just a little bit of creativity, you can make that happen.

So Einstein was right, imagination does get you everywhere, but it also gets those logical A to B things we parents have to do, done, with masses of fun.  At home, we now jump in our magic carpet to walk to the see the Queen who works behind the counter for Royal Mail, we squeak quietly as mice to load the dishwasher before the Dirty Dish Eater Dinosaur finds our plates and we always spend some important time with our books and escaping into and playing with our own imaginary versions of the stories together. Playing with my kids never got so much done!

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