HOME PLAYS FOR LITTLE PEOPLE 23
You begin to see the vividness of this kind of play. What is taking place mentally is very interesting. The child is in a society of many imaginary companions to whom he lends real attributes and powers. Since these characters are constant, but their adventures vary, he can and does take these mimic friends with him day after day into every story and game he wishes to play.
Mrs. Lowe has made bottle-doll play even more fascinating by planning for accessories and scenery. Mrs. Lowe's boats were made of tiny boxes, also her sleighs, wagons, and trains of cars. She said it did not detract from their value when wagons that were used to bring a load of merrymakers to grandma's were turned upside down to serve as their table to eat from. It will add much to the interest of the play if simple backgrounds are built up out of common nursery material, such as table covers laid over blocks and boxes for undulating plains, using boxes to represent houses and furniture, and having carts, cars, and doll furniture take their silent part in building a scenic effect.
A river may be indicated by a bank made of paste-board boxes, laid zigzag, over a space in the center. A well may be made by placing square boxes as curbing. When figures must go into the river they are taken over the bank. If the object is to be unseen in the well, make the curbing high.
Once Mrs. Lowe turned a lovely night into a stormy one by turning off all the lights but a small candle in a doll house, and flashing the electric lights for lightning, while they pulled a strong box in the shape of a canoe filled with Indians toward a draw-bridge let down. "Upon that occasion nothing could be heard but the excited breathing of the club."
The opportunities for friendly cooperation in bottle-doll play are obvious. A group of children may volunteer to make a certain number of character dolls apiece till the set is completed, but a lively lot will usually not be content to own a set conjointly, and soon each child will determine to have a complete set of his own. The educative possibilities of constructing such a variety of characters are almost limitless.