Here is something I discovered first way back when I was a child myself and now much later as I have a young child of my own. Kids love playing make-believe in indoor tents!
This may not be any great news to any parent reading this, because I'm pretty sure it's something you are already well aware of! But it gives me the excuse to write something up about the comparisons between my time as a child all those years ago and my daughter's experiences now.
Back in the Mists of Time
When I was a young boy and the weather was bad outdoors, I had to make my own entertainment inside the house. I'm pretty sure that while my parents loved me very much, they simply could not play with me all day. I probably didn't realize that back then, but who does?
So what did I do to pass the time? Well, one of my favorite things to do was to get an old sheet, throw it over a broomstick and make an indoor tent. It was my very own indoor fort that no one could breach! OK, I had a little help from my mom... but you get the idea.
Inside that tent, my imagination was allowed to run riot. I invented my own make-believe world where I was the king of a mighty castle and I could do battle with fire breathing dragons! Or I could lead out my armies (of toy soldiers) to do battle with the invading foes that dared to try and attack my sacred castle!
Did I have a good time? You bet!
Did it while away the hours in a fantasy world that fed my imagination? You bet!
Were my parents happy that I was not under their feet but happily playing safely where they didn't have to watch me every second? You bet!
Fast Forward to Today
My little girl gets just as much enjoyment from her purpose made indoor playhouse styled tent that I did as a child. She can spend hours in there with her dolls, plush toys and her toy tea sets and other stuff and I'm pretty sure her imagination is being fed as comprehensively as mine was all those years ago.
The big difference is that while I had to make do with a plain white sheet draped over a broomstick as my mighty castle, she has a tent that actually looks like a miniature house, complete with windows and door! But I believe that it's not what the thing looks like so much as the make-believe world her imagination is creating for her inside the tent that's important.
Her indoor tent is a playhouse that comes alive inside her head and the adventures she plays out in there are as real to her as my adventures were to me as a kid. That's a priceless learning tool for any small child because our imaginations are what defines us as creative beings and a child with a vivid imagination will grow up to be a creative adult with the world at their fingertips.