Being a stay-at-home Dad as well as a storyteller, I get to watch my kids more than, I think, the average working parents for the obvious reasons! We play a lot and we always seem to make up stories to accompany the games. Even games like "Guess Who!" a game with two boards covered in different faces. Each player then picks a card with one of those faces on it and each player has to guess, by process of elimination, which 'face' their opponent has. Who are these people and what do they do? It is great to see kids playing and inventing stuff as they go. When kids get together to play I love watching them explore the world around them. Now the snow is on the ground and runny noses have begun, people are staying more indoors. Dress-up brings new characters to life, interacting with other characters. Situations arise and conflicts have to be resolved. Why are the good guy's good and why are the bad guy's bad?
This came up over Thanksgiving when I went with some family members to see Tangled. [Plot spoiler coming up.] The good guy is a bad guy. The bad witch, on the surface, seems good to Rapunzel and most likely also to younger viewers. The good guy is a thief who falls in love with the heroine. The heroine is kept locked in a tower but is 'doted' on by her mother figure who 'loves' her so much she wants only to protect her. All the while the witch keeps Rapunzel locked in the tower to use the girls magical hair to keep herself young. The 'mothers' badness comes out later in the movie but progressively so it might not be caught by younger eyes and minds. Likewise the good guy (who is bad, remember) also changes slowly. [Plot spoiler over.]
Watching the movie and talking about it on the way home and later made me think of the subtle nuances of human beings and how complicated we are. Then watching, over the last week or so, how children play to work these things out made me think how smart children can be when given the right environment to develop.
And yes, that is a Disney Princess dress!