Is your house magic like Encanto?

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By Mary Clements

During our winter camps, it started coming up, ” Have you seen Encanto?”, “Can you play the song, We don’t talk about Bruno?” It seemed Disney had done it again, but upon reflection, Encanto hits a bit different.

For kids who have spent the majority of the last 2 years in their homes, they have had to create magical, expansive and layered worlds in their own home and family has had to play a role bigger than ever in doing this.

Encanto is set within the 4 walls of the home and it surrounds the relationships and dramas around a family which has resonated and meant so much more when parents have had to dig deep to try and keep their home interesting and keep children engaged while also trying to survive and not go crazy through all the curve balls of the pandemic.

This got me thinking about imaginative play and how the pandemic has challenged us to up our game and how we can intentionally incorporate it to create meaningful memories out of the mundane. 

Here are some imagination activities we have used during camp, of course when we are doing it there is French vocabulary and situations being pulled from them however those are completely optional 🙂 Perhaps you have done some of these at home already, maybe there is a new one for you to explore below:

  • Story Stones Painting words or pictures on stones to be displayed in yard or left in new places or for neighbours during a walk.
  • Tape Town– With the help of painters tape and a designated space in house, building a city that will spark joy to visit!
  • Super Hero Town– Super hero town is part 2 of tape town, it’s when the super heros move in and further developments can be approved by your, at this point, elected city council. (As you can see, your imagination is the boss!)
  • Stuffy Hotel-Stuffies check in and check out just like a hotel. Hotel can be constructed out of boxes or can even take up a parcel of land in tape town!
  • Pirates– Make hats and hide treasure around the house, build maps, and talk like a pirate all day. (Extra challenge: Try talking like a pirate in French) 
  • Warm Fuzzy Station- A “post-office” station in the house with a spot for each family member to write “warm fuzzies” (things they appreciate or notes) to each other. This is one of my favourites!
  • Gone Fishing– A blue blanket, a laundry basket, a stick with some tape or a magnet and you can be fishing for all sorts of things in your vast sea of imagination!
  • Super Hero Cuffs– Everyone in the family makes their own super hero cuffs to wear for a day that gives them special super powers. Endless possibilities.
  • Pizza Parlour– Using construction paper, have a “make your own pizza station” at the pizza parlour. Perhaps some pizzas have some unusual or magical toppings!
  • School– Playing school, of course where the child is the teacher, is a game that can go for hours, but can also reveal what their actual day of school is like. One student repeated to me all of things her teachers say to get all the students to calm down in French, which was quite hysterical.
  • Book Store– Book store is fun to play with all the books in the home and to create some interesting displays! I often play a customer who simply cannot pick which book to buy. Also, you will have to invent a wallet with money and a credit card to purchase books which is a great opportunity to incorporate units of money, additional and subtraction.
  • Floor Is Lava– No explanation needed.
  • Mermaid Tails– Assignment: Using playdoh or construction paper, all barbies are now mermaids and live under the sea.
  • Fairy Wings– Everyone in the house is now a magical fairy princess with a unique back story and of course, magical power. A matching crown and wand also couldn’t hurt 🙂

And incase you need a soundtrack while you are being transported into magical worlds via the imagination, you can have “Ne parlons pas de Bruno” and the rest of the Encanto soundtrack in French playing in the background! I wish you lots of imagination and joy to keep you warm during these last days of January!