I know it’s too soon for our eleven-month-old grandbaby, but I am having a really hard time waiting. She’s barely walking but I’m mentally racing ahead, looking forward to assembling my all time favorite gift for 3- and 4-year-olds: Grandrea’s famous dress-up box.
I love seeing the gift from their points-of-view, especially the first reaction to opening a HUGE box, trunk or treasure chest. Sometimes an old, classic suitcase from a flea market… the funkier the better.
And on the inside? Halloween wigs purchased in the drug store on November 1st. Tacky, oversized ‘dollar store’ sunglasses. Boas, fabric ends and netting. Baseball caps and mortar boards. Fake tattoos, wallets, purses. Dress shirts, scarves and neck ties. An unused mask from the doctor’s office. A paper crown from a fast-food place. A stethoscope, a badge and a helmet. Capes, party hats, opera gloves and goggles.
Why is this such a favorite gift?
- It’s like a treasure hunt (for me)! I get to spend months with my eyes peeled for the ugliest, liveliest, most visually over-stimulating “stuff” I can find.
- It’s inexpensive — who else would WANT this stuff??? Of course it’s on sale.
- The time it takes is time that I get to spend thinking about a child’s interests and imagination.
- And I’ve never given this gift to a kiddo who didn’t just love it. (It’s a step “up” from the wrapping paper, empty boxes and water bottles of the first two years.)
The best thing about this crazy, inexpensive gift? It doesn’t work without the magic ingredient: the child’s imagination.