Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Balance of Power in Car World

There is one thing all three of my kids will play together fairly reliably: cars.  Scott is the official owner of most of the Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars in our household, but the kids will play all together in overlapping story lines.  The way they each play cars is very indicative of their personalities. 

Scott (6 yrs old) plays with cars in fairly typical boy fashion.  The cars all live in "Car World" where they all compete via crashing into each other for the title of "Leader of All Cars."  It's a very alpha-male kind of set up, but really the important thing here is spectacular collisions.  The winner is usually whichever very cool looking car Scott has most recently acquired or taken a particular liking to.  It's like listening to "The Call of the Wild" play out every day in our playroom.

Kate (3 yrs old) explores a softer side to life in Car World where we see the basics of domestic life.  She takes subsets of the cars in Car World and groups them into families.  Mommy cars and daddy cars, baby cars, brother cars, and sister cars.  Important plots event includes classics like putting "baby" cars to bed. Sometimes the cars are even named the same names as the people in our extended family.  When other cars try to attack, these domestic cars become fiercely tribal.  They cry out things like, "Hey! That's my brother!"  However, they are mostly bark and no bite.  Really it's like an automotive version of "Little House on the Prairie."

Claire (8 yrs old) approaches cars from a more structured political perspective.  The reigning Leader of All Cars usually ensures his position by imprisoning insurgents.  Previous leaders and overthrown uprisings are promptly put in Car Jail or exiled to underneath the couch.  Order is maintained with an iron die-cast fist.  The cars sort out what the rules are going to be and then justice is dealt out accordingly.  It's like "Lord of the Flies" every day in our playroom, but minus the pig.

I'm starting a pool for when we'll first see democratic elections independently evolve in Car World.

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