imaginations and pretend play!


if there is one thing our family loves to do together, it’s play. josh and i talk at length every night after we tuck the kids in bed about what incredible imaginations and minds our kiddos have. kids at this age are just so incredible! the sky is the limit when it comes to what is possible, and they aren’t inhibited by fear or social pressures or norms or the world just yet.  as an adult, i feel like there is so much i am learning (or re-learning) when i am around them. it reminds me of this podcast i listened to years ago (i wish i could find it online for you! i just tried, something about the unusual uses test, but no luck…) anyway, this podcast was about a study where they gave an adult a brick and asked them to think of all the things it could be. the adult on average thought of maybe 4 or 5 things. then they did the same thing with children, and the child thought of two or three times as many things as the adult did (i don’t remember the exact numbers but it was insane how creative and intuitive some of the things they believed the brick to be were. things that made sense and were possible, but that you’d never even think of because you just don’t think like that anymore!)

something i struggle with daily, is that guilt of accidentally passing down my own personal hesitations or limits onto my children. i know there is only so much you can do, but i can see how it can and does happen, and tampering with my kids creative and special spirits always freak me out. we are all just so different, and then each child is so different, and then we’ve lived life a little already, so you want to warn them, or give them a heads up, but also, not too much of a heads up… they have to figure it out themselves or they’ll never learn right?! and i’ve read a dozen parenting books in the last few years, and so many contradict one another, as well as me being raised one way and my husband being raised another… it’s like, how do you really know?! what’s the right method?! how much of this and how little of that?!

i’m digressing, but what i’m trying to get at, is that despite not having all the answers and being a first time parent who makes a lot of mistakes (but also, i do feel like i’ve had a couple of really great triumphs under my belt too), i’m just thankful for those moments where we can get on the floor together in the middle of the day or at night before bed (or even in the early morning when i wish i was sleeping), and let my kids take the lead, and play. i just think it’s so important, and i see how it builds and shapes them, especially when i step aside and don’t interfere… but just follow their creative concepts and ideas. help where i’m needed by grabbing all the (safe) kitchen tools to use as swords or instruments, or helping to hang the sheets up a little higher to make a fort or castle wall, and sometimes just biting my tongue when the messes seem to be getting bigger because they are so engrossed in their pretend farm or pet store or castle at the moment, as well as bite my tongue when i am type casted yet again as the horse who must prance all around the apartment with the princess or knight on her back (i really need to invest in knee pads). i am thankful for the energy and spirit their imaginations bring into our home. and i will try my hardest to not just be supportive and loving, but to always be ready to get down beside them and play.

here are a few photos from some play that took place last saturday afternoon. we had all just gotten home from being out most of the day, and gravitated towards the nursery together to play. within maybe a half hour of playing, i had to run and grab my camera from the other room because this sort of playtime together was so fun (and funny), i needed to make sure i captured a little bit of it. …


while i was in nashville a few weeks ago, i found this pretty princess dress for eleanor as she’s just gotten into the whole princess thing this past month or so after being invited to a friend’s birthday party that was having a fairy princess tea party theme.  what i love about the whole ordeal though, is that she’s a princess that always wears her sword (sword being a kitchen tool from our blender) which she belted around herself all on her own! i already mentioned this on my instagram, but my girlfriend lizzie said when she saw that, “she’s a princess, but she’s no damsel in distress! she’s gonna take care of things herself!” it’s true! and i just love love love that about my little eleanor.


this knight in shining armor was actually a “robot knight” and a “dog knight” while we were playing on this day! hilarious. but so so good at never breaking character and always talking like a robot or barking like a dog the entire time and sticking to his role through and through.


high up on her balcony, addressing the kingdom!


declaring a need for a new knight! a special knight! a knight to help her fight and reclaim her kingdom from bad guys!” (she then called out “josh davis” from the crowd of people below! (it was absolutely darling to see her think to single out her papa for the task! a very good call, eleanor.)


and he stood so quickly from his seat in the crowd, ready for the mission!


being “knighted.” (is there a proper way to say that?!”)


always type-casted as the goat or horse or dog, or something like that. whatever. i think it’s my kids way of telling me they think i’m super strong! ;)


after wearing rubber bands on her wrists the past few weeks, i couldn’t help but buy these cute little bracelets for eleanor the other day when i saw them (here and here). she told me the watermelon is her favorite part. :)


trading characters for a moment! we now have a robot horse! and conrad’s turn to be the knight!


one of the best parts of their play, is when one of them gets “pretend hurt.” eleanor and samson (and i imagine conrad at some point soon) so quickly rush to their side to help them back to health. it’s always my favorite part, to see them take care of each other.


conrad usually is on music duty when there needs to be a parade or procession. ;)


if you’re running low on pretend swords in your home, a snorkel usually does the trick!

LOVE TAZA PRETENDPLAY-7 such a broken record at this point in my life, but i just love being their mother. and am thankful (about 98% of the time) for this tiring and exhausting and challenging chapter of life.

have a wonderful weekend, friends! i hope it’s full of lots of play, no matter how old you are or whatever chapter of life you might be in!

  1. Jessica

    Ha! Yes their imaginations are so special at a young age…it’s a shame we lose all this *magic* as we get older. The fairytales I’ve been cast in….;)

  2. Hal

    Dear Taza,

    Thank you for writing with such wit and delight and authenticity!! You are a very inspiring mother.
    A little note to add, for your interest: it has been found in research that the opposite of depression is not joy, rather play! Check out this Play Expert, and what he has to say about it:—-it-depression

    I want to thank you for this inspiring post. I believe you are creating an incredible foundation for your littles by encouraging them to go out and explore and express themselves, and feel all the joy that being them is! They will never forget these deep, deep foundational feelings/memories you are facilitating.

    Now I need to go out and find some blocks or something, or maybe a blender plunger?

    Much love to you and yours :)

  3. marcy

    Fantastic post. Very inspiring and encouraging. And isn’t the best part about bunkbeds ALL the things they can become in a child’s imagination?!

  4. Amy

    A good friend (and past pastor) of ours did her thesis in seminary about the theology of play and why God wants us to play!! :)

  5. Rachel

    OMG I totally love this post!! Josh looks so proud to be nominated as knight, such a sweet moment to capture!!

    Rach //

    • TAZA

      haha! he really was! it was so cute to see her call him up all on her own, they have the sweetest dad-daughter relationship and it makes me so happy. :)

  6. Audra

    I love this… I have a 21 month old girl and 3 month old little boy.. and I needed to hear this… to let them play and be little and join in on the fun… I let her play all she wants and I enjoy playing with her, but I am also the mom running around cleaning up as we go and interrupting her play.. I have to let that go and truly enjoy this season of life with both of them…Your blog reminds me of that often.. I hope my two littles enjoy each other like your three do.. I love following your blog and seeing you life with three small children… Its beautiful!

  7. I feel the same way when it comes to parenting. We are all different people with different experiences and sometimes it’s hard to find middle ground where you can feel 100% of what you are doing.

    I don’t think that ever happens!! Ha! But, I always try to remind myself that nobody is perfect and that we as parents will make mistakes. That IS 100% for sure!

    I guess the best we can do is exactly that, strive for our best versions of ourselves every time. Nothing more.

    Love your pictures an posts!!!! As usual!

  8. I love this post which is crazy to me since I shy alway from children all too often.

    Kids have the best imagination.

  9. S

    Always loving the emphasis you put on good and dedicated parenting on your blog! It can be tiresome to some of these “parenting” blogs do nothing but promote the parents and use the kids as props, so it’s just so refreshing to see such a genuine platform discussing healthy family growth.

  10. Cassie

    Way to go, mama, encouraging those wonderful imaginations! You are doing it all right.

  11. STEPH

    hi there!
    wheres the cute hat from that you are wearing?


    • TAZA

      it’s from shop bop! sorry! i forgot to link today!

  12. Lucia

    This is so sweet Naomi! I love it. You inspire me and I hope to be a mom like you one day. What hat is that? It’s so so so cute,


  13. Sarah

    The watermelon is my favorite part, too!

  14. Meg

    This is my favorite. Your family is adorable!

    What lens are you using in these photos? They are beautiful!

    • TAZA

      thanks meg! we used our 24-70mm lens for these pictures. :)

  15. kelly andrews

    What type of parenting books do you read? Which ones do you relate to the most and which ones do you agree with the most? Also how were you and Josh raised differently? Lots of questions, sorry. I am just trying to figure out this parenting thing. :) Also love that you get in on the pretend play.

  16. Rachel

    I think that it is so important to encourage kids to use their imagination and play with them. Plus, isn’t it so fun to just act like a kid sometimes?! My daughter is 2 and I love watching her imagination at work already. :)

    Simply Rachel Nicole

  17. Emily

    So much fun! My little one is just starting to develop his imagination and it’s so fun to see! Could you please link to your pants and sweater! You look so cute!

  18. Frances

    i know i’ve said this before, but i just love your nursery for your kids! The white walls and big windows with natural lighting and all the pops of color!…. it’s just the best. definitely inspiring me for my (far away) future. the closest i’ve been to imaginary play is when i used to babysit and it was amazing all the ideas and creations the kids would make up. i mean really, like where do they come up with some of it?? hope y’all are doing well and you have a lovely weekend! xoxo

  19. Rebecca

    So sweet! And I am dying to know where your bunkbed is from. We are in the market and I love how minimalist it is! Thanks!

  20. Tracey

    I couldn’t find the hat on Shop Bop. Do you mind posting the link or brand?

    Thank you!

  21. Emmalee

    Where did you get your kids’ bedding? Adorable!

  22. Alli

    So cute!! Love these pictures. Where did you get their bunk bed?

  23. Emma

    I love it, you guys are such amazing parents. We are just winging it but your kids seem to be having such a magical childhood and that’s what it’s all about!

  24. Sara

    Have you done a “day in the life” post? I don’t remember seeing one but it would be interesting! May seem silly since you share so much of your daily lives but I’m curious… (Ex. 6:30 am Kids are up, time to start the day!)

  25. Vale

    It s inspiring reading you… I have only one baby (1 year old) and sometimes i am so tired that i think i wouldnt be able to hsve more than one… But then see you with three and all happines and laugh and play it brings motherhood… And realised tiredness is part of being mother… Sooo…. Enjoy!

  26. Katie Garrett

    AWW your posts are the cutest! i cannot wait to be a mom! Trying to finish nursing school first!

  27. Pam

    Your kids sure know how to have fun! I mean, who needs internet when you have bunk beds and knight costumes?!?! Love your family Taza♥

  28. Lauren

    Oh my gosh I can’t even with the knighting! How cute!! My husband is Josh too :) Stop by my blog when you get the chance – were giving away a $100 sephora gift card!

  29. Joyce

    Hi Naomi, I hope you don’t mind asking but I’m currently looking for a bunk bed with trundle for my toddlers. Yours look very sturdy and not bulky. Thanks in advance!

  30. Amy

    I love this post! I know as your blog has grown you post several sponsored posts. But I really love seeing this very sincere snippet of your family life! That is truly inspiring and fun to see.

  31. Cynthia Sue

    Josh is standing just like Peter Pan in that one picture of just him. Lol.

  32. Erica

    I admire your parenting so much. With a 1-year old and another on the way in 4 months, I often wondered how you foster the immense creativity your children have (Eleanor and her “iPod” was one of the best snapchats ever)! I meant to message you and ask that very question…and then a few weeks later I see this post, which is exactly what I was looking to find. Thank you for sharing so much of your lives with us! As a new parent, I truly look to you for guidance and inspiration!

  33. Bonnie

    I love this! I have an almost 1 year old and am already finding that I don’t want to put limits on what he is interested in(as long as it’s not life threatening? Hello power outlets!) but I found this book that seriously rocks and thought you might be interested even though you probably have scarce reading time with 3 kiddos. It’s called The Conscious Parent-it’s really a good read!

  34. hanna

    Your family is so cute! –Hanna Lei

  35. Alyssa

    outfit on point. well done, lady. xo

  36. Jess

    With today’s technology I feel like kids don’t do dramatic play as much as they should to grow their amazing imaginations. I love seeing this. It gives me hope that with giving children props and ideas that the imagination in them will grow and develop. Do your kids watch tv/play with ipads? If they do, do you regulate how much they watch etc? I am fascinated on this topic and love seeing how different each family does it.

  37. Sarah K

    I just had to comment to say how much I love the pictures of Eleanor as a princess with a sword! As a little girl I always played games where I was a princess who was also a knight (usually with a sword made of cardboard and tinfoil!). As an adult I am so grateful for being raised by the kind of parents who encouraged me to play and fed my imagination with stories of strong girls. You are obviously doing such a wonderful job raising your kids. You should be so proud!

  38. Lau

    In the era of Internet, it is nice todo ese a lot of imagination!

  39. Vera

    Hi Naomi – I am just in awe of your family and the fact that you guys will sit and play with your kids for hours at a time. I adore my children, but just find it so exhausting a lot of the time. Can you post how you guys do it with no TV in the house and possibly a day in the life?

  40. Joana

    Hi Naomi! Understand you perfectly, just want to be able to protect my girl from all my prejudices and flaws and misconceptions about the world.. For something totally different, how did you manage with Conrad in us open some time ago?! I m planning on going next week to a masters final match but I’m afraid my 14 month old baby does not understand the concept of silence just yet… Any advice?

  41. Looks like a lot of fun going on there. I wanna play too, why they grow up so fast?

  42. I also love play with my children…. I do everyday (if I have time;))
    Kisses from France

  43. Veronika

    Hello, what books you read on parenting?
    where did you find the time to read?

  44. Lauren

    Love how much imagination your kids have! They always seem to come up with new fun things to do! These pictures are adorable!!

  45. uhm, just melting a little bit! our first born (girl) is due in the next few weeks — hello crazy pregnancy hormones — and i just love reading about your precious babies! i can’t wait for these hectic days like yours. so sweet.

    also, thank you for your honesty! that’s why your words matter, it reaches people for sure. i know i’ll be revisiting these posts one day when i’m pulling my hair out in desperation. :)

  46. Danielle

    this is something i am working on too; just enjoying the chapter i’m in. thanks for sharing y’all’s play time!

  47. Jane

    I really love reading about the amazingly involved and caring way you and your husband are actively involved in raising your kids. It is really inspiring, too, to see a husband who is such an active and strong father in his children’s lives.

    I love the princess dress with the sword – I think Eleanor would really love the soon-to-be released line of kids socks from Restless Socks. They’re just as brightly colored as that fantastic dress, and super long-lasting for all the wear kids put on their clothes!

  48. Rae

    This really is the sweetest post! I have a daughter that is approaching her first birthday and you are such an inspiration to me for fostering imagination in her and my future children!

  49. These outfits are hilarious. Love the creative energy kids have…it really brings out the creativity in us boring adults ha!

    Christina |

  50. Nadia

    Where are the kids blankets from?

  51. Loretta

    You should read Dealing with Dragons. I think you would all love it.

  52. I just love this and honestly it’s given me a little bit of a reality check that the laundry, dishes, mess can wait and to just get down and play.

    I will say I feel you on being type casted, daddy always gets to be “the prince” and for some reason I am always called upon to play “the mouse”. We are on a Cinderella kick in our house.

    I will say I make an excellent mouse though.

  53. Elsa

    How do we get clean the room children?

  54. KKH

    Love you guys and your adorable family and blog but PLEASE take your outside shoes off in that apartment where kids play and crawl around!

  55. Lucy

    Beautiful post! I couldn’t agree more with everything you said!

    I was just wondering where E got her princess clothing from? It’s so beautiful, I’ve not seen one like it before!

    Thank you! x x

  56. Stephanie

    You are SUCH a GOOD Mom Naomi and Josh is SUCH a WONDERFUL Papa! I’ve checked in since 2011 and you both are such an inspiration for mothers, fathers, friends, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons and children in Christ. Thanks for the positivity and letting your light shine :)

  57. sara

    love this! it made me take a jaunt down my own memory lane of playtime. there’s nothing like the colorful highs of playtime as a kid. as parents, we get to relive a fraction of it through our children, and it’s the best!

    i was inspired to write more in my blog :)