Food for thought : Games she plays.

Like all children, Sara too likes to play a lot of games. 
Playing Kitchen, Setting up her own restaurant and hosting her food show are three of her favourites.
And then there are these. None of these involve real toys. But interestingly food happens to be integral part of all of them.
Please note these games can be used only for personal use. Selling these ideas to companies or people can attract penalties. You don’t believe me? Trust me or wait for Sara’s lawyers to come and sue you for they have all been patented by her under her brand “Jolliest Junior”. I swear! She has a brand. She also makes brand catalogues. A story I promise to share another day.
Game one: 
What: Being the principal cum teacher of her very own school. In this game she teaches ballet, sword fighting, flying and handwriting. The school also has a kitchen where students go for a quick bite.
Why: Because “I am a magical girl musketeer and I need to teach this to other girls. And it is important for a real musketeer to know all four. Ballet for grace and style, sword fighting for fighting obviously mamma, flying when you need to attack bad people in the air and beautiful handwriting to take notes in the classes“.
How to set it up: 
  • Take out the many tutus that you literally live in and hundreds of magic wands (she has four and there are numerous that she has made or her mother has been asked to make),
  • All the pairs of fairy wings that you wear to the park every day (sometimes to the mall too)
  • All of your footwear for all the students to wear, plastic bats/rulers/ empty tissue/foil rolls (that you don’t let your mum throw for you “like to reuse” things) for swords, 
  • All the pens and pencils from all the corners of your house for about a 100 imaginary students will be attending this graduate program. 
  • A mini pantry of sorts needs to be set up for the snack break that the students will get after the first two classes.
How to play
  • Your mum/ dad needs to play music from the Swan lake for the ballet class.
  • This needs to be followed by jumping around with the sword. This part of the game also need to be accompanied by some really funny Eeehaaan-Eeehaan  & Oooohaaan- Ooohaan sounds. Cartwheels are compulsory.
  • Time for a food break. The students are given fresh orange juice, cucumber sticks, dates and oat cookies. It is healthy and no one can say no.
  • Then you need to climb on your bed and jump from there (wearing wings ofcourse) and “fly”.
  • Lastly, copious pictorial notes need to made and shared with all the students.
Time taken to put this whole thing together: One hour
Time taken to play: About 30 minutes
Time taken to put back things and clean up: One and a half hours.
Game two:
What: She is the owner of her very own book club cum cafe.
Why: “Because I love reading and everyone should love reading and when you read sometimes you also get hungry and then you need food and Book Munch also has a cafe, right?”
How to set it up
  • Drag four dining chairs from the dining room and put them in the middle of your room. 
  • Empty your ENTIRE book shelf and arrange the books on and under them. You also need to put your photograph at the entrance to show the people coming it is your cafe!! 
  • Put in random stuff like notepads, pens, markers, etc. 
  • Get all the paper bags that your home contains and make them stand straight in a single file. If they fall, cry till your mom fixes them. The bags are for people who want to buy books. 
  • Set up a mini kitchen with pretend food and pretend utensils. 
  • Take all the cushions from all the rooms in your house and turn them into cafe tables.
How to play: Mommy and daddy need to visit the book cafe several times and pretend to read and order. Sometimes imaginary guests also come. Together with them we read, order food, read, order food, buy and bye bye.
Time taken to put this whole thing together: One full day! Really! And then she is too tired to play and says, “I will play this game tomorrow”. So I politely ask her, “Are we going to have to eat dinner standing”? She says, “There are six dining chairs, remember. I can always stand and eat”!
Time taken to play: One hour, the next day.
Time taken to put back things and clean up: About two days. Yes!
Game Three:
What: Making magical potions 
Why: For “I am REALLY a magical fairy, you know sort of like Matilda. Only she can’t fly. I can. Also, I need this magic spell to make our home beautiful, for punishing that bad boy who hid my bottle at school, for my friend Oorvi wants to fly like me and only my potion can help her, for making this flower live longer….”
How to set it up? : Please note this is both an outdoor and indoor game. Gasp! 
  • Make your mother call/ text your friend Oorvi’s mother several times. This is to confirm and reconfirm and re-re confirm if Oorvi is carrying all the things that we have “discussed and decided” to.
  • Get your little backpack and proceed to fill it up with a pair of binoculars, a magnifying glass, colour pencils, markers, papers, scissors and erasers.
  • Also carry your big beach bucket.
  • Walk down to the park with the bag on your back and bucket in your hand as if going for a ten day trek.
  • Once you come back home, you will need the biggest bowl from the kitchen, several spices and a jug of water.
How to play:
  • At the park collect all the fallen leaves and flowers and sticks in your bucket. Also yucky sticky things that your mothers asks you to keep away from.
  • Look around for interesting stuff with the help of your binoculars and magnifying glass.
  • See if you can catch the wicked butterfly fairy that is currently in the garden. Exchange hi-fives on trapping her (This step is only in imagination)
  • Sit down and write the recipe for the potion. Ingredients, instructions, et al.
  • Come back home and get the biggest bowl and empty the contents of your bucket into it.
  • Next add one full jug of water to it.
  • Nag your mom till she gives you one dry red chilli, a pinch of turmeric, another pinch of red chilli powder, one star anise, two olives, a pinch of salt, a stick of cinnamon and four peppercorns. She will shout you are wasting stuff. Ignore. Also don’t try and change this recipe. Sara has worked for many “years” perfecting this potion.
  • Now ask her for whatever your mum is chopping for dinner as well. Onion peels, coriander stems, potato skins…get the idea?
  • Throw everything into that bowl carrying your loot from the park and the water.
  • Give it a good mix.
  • Marvel at how it is now yellow and red and so magical. “Turmeric and chilli powder are my favourite spices because things can become sunny with it”, she says.
  • Whisper a magic word into it.
  • Leave it to stand for 2 days. Your mother will still be shouting, “It is smelling and dirty and needs to thrown”. Ignore.
  • Magic potion is ready.
Time taken to put this whole thing together: One hour plus two days for marinating.
Time taken to play: One hour at the park and one hour at home
Time taken to put back things and clean up: Ten minutes
Best game ever! Did you notice that it took all of ten minutes to clean up!
Does your little boy or little girl  like to play make-believe games? Do they pretend to be a sailor or an astronaut or a mouse or a bear? Do they too live in a magical world like my little chefling? Do you think encouraging them to play these games nurtures creativity or you are not entirely comfortable with them living in this pretend world?
And more importantly,does food play an integral role in all of those games too? The kind of of food they “cook, buy or serve” in these games, does that tell you something about the eating habits of your family? I’d love to hear. 

On other days when she is not “really busy” coming up with such complicated games she likes to climbs trees or to simply lie down on the grass and pretend to sleep.

Images : Personal Album. While you enjoy reading this post with visuals.Please do not use them without asking. They belong to Orange Kitchens unless otherwise stated. 

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