In 2013, we read about parents who made their kid’s toys come alive in ‘Dinovember’. This is a really creative project of Refe Tuma and his wife. During the nights of November, these parents set up their kid’s toy dinosaurs in a variety of different scenes and activities. When the children awake in the morning, they find the dinosaurs in the midst of activities from the previous night – painting, playing a game, drawing, getting up to mischief, or even attempting to make food (ie. a mess). Of course, the children are tremendously excited about all of this, but also a bit worried about what mom and dad will think. Sometimes the toys are caught cleaning or washing the dishes, so there’s a few good lessons to be learned too.
What is the reason for all of this? Tuma says, “…in the age of iPads and Netflix, we don’t want our kids to lose their sense of wonder and imagination. In a time when the answers to all the world’s questions are a web-search away, we want our kids to experience a little mystery… Childhood is fleeting, so let’s make sure it’s fun while it lasts.” That’s a really great message, and a really fun trick.
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Some of our close friends here in Qingdao have a similar tradition with their kids. In their house, during the month of March, the kid’s toys come alive and get up to all kinds of activity, and often lots of mischief. After the three children are in bed, mom and dad stay up late at night, preparing the surprise for the morning. Yesterday we told you all about our day-trip to Huangdao for the Easter Tapas and Craft Party at The Hilton. This was also our opportunity to be able to take part in this imaginative tradition. That morning, the toys had left a note and three clues. Ella, the oldest of the three children, had figured out that the toys had taken a taxi to Huangdao and that they would be at The Hilton hotel (which she very cutely calls, “The Hudson hotel”). On the way there, I painted her nails and asked her about the clues. Her face lit up as she explained each clue and how much she was looking forward to finding the toys. Shortly after arriving at the hotel, Nik handed me a bag and told Justin and I to make a plan. At first, we ran to the nearest “hidden” place that we could find. There were many children around and we didn’t want any of them to pick up the toys. Only after setting up a few of the toys did we realise that this was an executive lounge (oops, we probably shouldn’t have been in there) and directing the kids into there was probably not such a good idea. I then ran to this huge staircase… (Justin stood guard at the bottom).
Near the top, out of view, we set up the toys as if they were coming down the stairs from one of the rooms. I had to stand guard as there were a few people coming down and they kept stopping to look at the toys. Thankfully, no one touched them. In the meantime, Justin ran off to tell the kids that we had found the toys! I hid at the top of the staircase to get a recording of the reaction.
**If you are wondering where the kids went at the end of the clip — they ran off searching where the toys must have come from. Adorable!
Want to see more of what the toys have been up to this month?
Check that out here: March Mischief