My mother has a photo of me from when I was about three or four years old. You can see the plastic-covered couches that were popular back in those days, especially in Latino households and throughout the Caribbean. In this photo, I am serving my abuelo his “cafe” in one of my plastic toy cups – we didn’t play “tea party” in Puerto Rico; coffee was what was served. Next to me is a Strawberry Shortcake stroller holding one of my dolls. I loved that stroller and only wish I still had it for my daughter to use now. What I remember most, though, is playing with my abuelo.
It’s interesting to see my daughter play the same types of games and even with some of the same toys I had. Like Strawberry Shortcake, so many of the toys from my childhood are back again! But, beyond the same toys making a comeback, there are games that never go out of style. You will always find little girls having tea parties. You can be sure they’ll always play pretend with their dolls and stuffed animals. The latest game my daughter plays in the mornings is to play teacher with her “classroom” full of stuffed animal students – a game I too used to play when I was little.
Through these games, we as parents are able to share more than just quality time with our children. We are sharing stories and memories of our own childhood. I think most kids enjoy hearing stories of mommy and daddy as little kids, my daughter included. In playing together and making play time family time, we’re all getting a dose of nostalgia. Most importantly, we are spending time together.
These are the moments that I am sure my daughter enjoys the most. Playing with mom and dad, hearing stories of how different, or not so different, play time was for mom and dad, and of course, creating her own memories she’ll one day share with others.