Disclosure: Some of the DUPLO products mentioned in this post were sent to Hannah, free of charge.
How Quickly Things Change
Just a few weeks ago it seemed like summer would never end. The warm weather and blue skies meant hours upon hour of outdoor fun. Then the cold came, and with it the sickness.
Seemingly overnight the whole of Sydney caught a cold. Trains, workplaces and preschools simultaneously filled with a cacophony of coughs and sneezes.
We were not immune. The sickness found its way into our home and it must have decided it liked it, because it hung around. In particular, it decided that Hannah’s face was a particularly pleasant place to settle in. For close enough to a week she was housebound and miserable.
Entertaining a Sick Toddler
Hannah is most definitely an outdoors kid. She loves the playground, her scooter, the beach… she even loves the wind! So to be cooped up indoors for an extended period is a difficult thing. Still, it had to be done. The conditions outside were less than ideal for recovery.
Keeping a child like Hannah entertained indoors is a challenge. When she was feeling under the weather it wasn’t so difficult, we just snuggled up under a doona and worked our way through her extensive collection of picture books. But when she had enough energy to play… we had to get creative!
Tea parties in the tent were a blast, and playdough played its part. Musical instruments helped to pass a few minutes, but the real life saver was DULPO. Of all her toys, DULPO is the one that Hannah plays with the most.
I get it, because I was much the same as a child. DUPLO (and its older, even more awesome brother LEGO) is the perfect toy. Even in this day and age of battery-operated everything, good old-fashioned building blocks just can’t be beat. They offer so much possibility, they spark creativity and imagination in ways that other toys just cannot match. Even now as a grown man, I still feel a sense of wonderment when I sit down in front of a big box of DUPLO and begin to build.
Build All the Things!
Hannah’s big box of DUPLO provided hours of glorious entertainment. It took our minds away from the sickness and the fact that we were stuck indoors. Together Hannah and I sat and built. We played games and imagined scenarios (Hannah’s favourite was to make everyone eat pizza… mine was to make cows ride the giant slide and land in the back of a dump truck…).
We started to build a house and over the days it became more and more elaborate. Hannah demanded that it be mobile, so delicately we lifted it up and placed wheels underneath. Hannah took great delight in watching me tow the huge contraption behind a DUPLO tractor!
Eventually, we achieved the impossible. We used every single block from Hannah’s DUPLO block on our contraption. It was majestic! A testament to the combined imaginations of father and daughter (not to mention the awesomeness of those wonderful plastic blocks!).
But Hannah was still sick. She was still banned from the great outdoors (and baffling her doctors and parents with the cold that wouldn’t quit).
Flo’s Café – The Cars 3 DUPLO Set
Fortunately, I had an ace up my sleeve. Our Good friends at DUPLO had sent Hannah the Flo’s Café Set from the Cars 3 movie. I had put it aside, as I wanted to save it for the right moment. With Hannah in danger of reaching Jack Torrance levels of stir crazy, I figured it was the perfect time to crack it out.
I wasn’t wrong.
This new DUPLO set was unlike anything that Hannah had played with. Her eyes immediately lit up at the sight of the box and her excitement was palpable as we opened the packaging.
To be honest, I was thrilled too. Opening LEGO packets sparks an unrivalled sense of nostalgia for a childhood that I remember so fondly. The thought that I am, right there in that moment, creating those kinds of memories and feelings with my own daughter is something I deeply cherish.
We built the Flo’s Café DUPLO set in no time at all. For the first time since we began playing DUPLO, Hannah was able to follow the instructions (with my help) and locate the correct pieces. Together we built the cars, then the truck, then the café. Then it was play time!
The new set provided hours of entertainment. Hannah’s imagination exploded as we pretended to use the petrol pump to fill up the cars. Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez zoomed around the upstairs landing, accompanied by the joy-filled giggles of a toddler who had forgotten all about her high temperature and runny nose.
The cars took turns to drive through Flo’s Café and fill up at the bowser. They zoomed up the ramp and into the back of Mack’s trailer. It was pure joy for daughter and dad, a shared moment of bonding over play that is so precious.
Hannah is the kind of child who sometimes likes to mix her imaginative play with a good dose of realism, so she grew particularly fond of using the bowser to refill the cars. She even made a “blub blub blub” sound that increased in pitch as the refuelling progressed.
Then it was time to refuel the truck. I had parked Lightning McQueen in the trailer of Mack, and I was ready to go on a long drive around the room. Hannah, however, insisted that we needed fuel. I don’t know how, but she seemed to know that trucks require large amounts of fuel. While I waited (impatiently), Hannah diligently sat and pumped petrol into the truck… for a solid five minutes.
Finally we were refuelled and ready to go. Or so I thought…
It turned out the truck needed a thorough oil change before it was ready for its journey. Once again I waited (and waited and waited) while Hannah diligently poured a substantial amount of imaginary oil into the vehicle.
Once Hannah was satisfied that Mack was roadworthy, we were off! Our adventures wore long and full of fun. The new set of DUPLO was just what Hannah needed to take her mind off feeling sick and being housebound. We had a ball together, it was brilliant!
Thankfully, Hannah is now back to her usual cheery self. We have been able to leave the house and find some fun in the great outdoors. Hannah’s new favourite DUPLO pieces have integrated with her other DUPLO and it is still played with daily.