One of the interesting ideas of Montessori education is that children do not need fake representations of adult objects, they just need smaller versions of real ones. So for instance, not a bright orange plastic pretend vacuum cleaner with buttons that play songs, but an actual light dust buster or broom - something that really can accomplish a version of its ostensible purpose and can break when mistreated.
This really makes sense to me. Lara's favorite things are either adult things or realistic facsimiles. Books, of course, but also: a toy stroller that looks and acts pretty much exactly like her real one, a cardboard box that once held a scanner and now is a step/stool/briefcase; pens (rather than crayons) for drawing. There was a brief period when we suddenly couldn't take her to restaurants. It persisted until we figured out that she is only happy sitting in an adult chair, and can easily make it through dinner when no high chairs are involved. She prefers to drink water out of a glass with a straw, or a water bottle. Recently she became really into my bag. To the point of (yesterday) finding and opening my glasses case - and (Maria Montessori would have been proud) actually breaking my glasses. (Today) I decided to create a smaller version of a real bag for her. Remnants for sides and pockets, rickrack for handles. She loves it.
See how her arm is raised in this picture? She is not saying hi - she is trying to keep the bag on her shoulder, mommy-style, where she put it as soon as I gave it to her.
She brought the bag to dinner with Aric and Sandie. We were cracking up watching Lara with her grandfather. She is aspirationally trying to mimic an adult, while he is devolving to carefree childishness. They were making fishface lips at each other for 45 minutes.