Breaking Barriers with Imagination

One of my favorite, and also incredibly fascinating aspects of raising children in a big family is watching how their relationships change over the years. Jack and Zoe, being our first and 19 months apart in age, have always been very close. Their personalities and dispositions couldn’t be more different, but the bond that they share is incredibly special and unique. I’ve strived to keep the gender gap between them as small as possible by bringing in neutral toys, books and activities, but they tended to gravitate towards their own interests naturally; Zoe still loves dolls and princesses and Jack is fascinated with sports and science. Now that there’s four siblings, two boys and two girls, the lines of play have been blurred in the most fun and fabulous ways.

The age gap and therefore interests amongst Jack, Zoe and Beau can often feel vast and unconnected, but sometimes they surprise me in the most wonderful way. Stories of all kinds bring them together in a way that transcends age and gender. Books and movies offer a sense of connection in ways that they can each personalize on their own but share together in a very similar way. While, on occasion I’ve caught both Beau and Theo decked out in princess attire, the same can be said for swashbuckling superheroes. The camaraderie is changing so often between Beau and Zoe especially, so with the introduction to the Captain America Civil War dress up gear and character dolls they’ve begun to create their own storylines of play with each other daily. I’m equal parts surprised, fascinated and excited by the dramatic, imaginative story recreating that goes on between them, allowing them both to be the Superhero in the same scenes.

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The concept of a hero is not quite defined specifically in our realm. Jack refers to Stephen Curry has his hero, while Beau and Zoe regard them as a superhuman who strives to channel the best possible outcomes in dire and often emotional scenarios. Each day since we brought the Captain America Civil War costumes from Target into our home, they’ve taken turns dressing either both as Iron Man, or they take turns becoming Captain America, Ant Man or Falcon. While they haven’t personally seen the movies, they understand the concept behind a superhero and what they represent. The capacity for bonding and creatively using their imagination for role playing themes is growing by the day! It’s surprising and so much fun to watch. They’re learning key values about their relationship and co-play with each other within the superhero theme.

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I’m most surprised by Zoe, who for the longest time was happy to stick to the pink, girly-only theme within her daily life, she has taken on these very masculine, strong characters without a second thought, and she plays with Beau (and Evvie and Theo) like they are peers instead of delegating a pecking order that often displays itself in “normal” life because she is 3 years older and female. I’m proud of the bond that has grown between them and thrilled to see that it’s happened through a common theme that celebrates honor, strength and overcoming challenges. It’s confidence and camaraderie building to embrace the superhero theme in our home, and I can thank in part Captain America, Iron Man and their squad for an interesting role-playing story line and gear.

Take home Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War with toys, gear & more at Target.

Free Products and Other Considerations Provided by Target

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