“We do a lot of improv here.”
– Buttercup the Hedgehog
in “Toy Story 3”
This is my favorite scene in the wonderful movie
“Toy Story 3.” Woody the cowboy has just arrived
at the home of a new little girl, where he’s been
donated, and is confused by his new surroundings:
Woody: [waves his arms] Guys, hey! Guys, look, I
don’t know where I am..
Trixie: We’re either in a café in Paris or a coffee shop
in New Jersey. I’m pretty sure I just came back
from the doctor with life-changing news.
Buttercup: We do a lot of improv here.
You know what “improv” is, right? Young children
call it “playing.” When we insist that a song is sung
with certain words, a drum is played in one certain
way, or that the sun should always be painted yellow,
we’re squashing their imaginations. We’re sending
the message that their ideas are wrong, or that they
The trouble is that young children learn by playing,
and when you interfere with that process, you’re
actually keeping them from learning. All they
“learn” is to obey, not to discover, explore, and
It also takes all the fun out of it. As Buttercup, or
any toy, could tell you.