This past Christmas had my husband and I thinking a lot about the things we own, specifically the toys we own. As first time parents we really are clueless as to what kind of toys a two year old likes, and I can count the number of toys on my hand that we have bought for my son. Most of Peanut's toys have been given to him by friends and relatives. The problem is, he doesn't really play with them much. I solved the possibility of having an overwhelming amount of toys by giving many away and putting the rest in organizers and only letting a few toys out at a time. I thought that would do it. Nope, still not playing very much.
On our very long drive back from our Christmas vacation, my husband suggested, once again, that Peanut had too many toys. I argued that he didn't have the right kind of toys. My husband then said something that, in my eyes at least, was very profound, "Peanut has toys he plays with, but not toys he uses to play". Maybe to many of you this sounds crazy or redundant, but it made perfect sense to me. What happened to toys kids use to play and why are they so rare and hard to find?
Try walking down a toy isle and finding a toy that doesn't sing, talk, dance, light up or fly. There is a very small selection. Who needs imagination when a toy action figure now talks, lights up and moves for the kid? Moreover, think about your favorite toys as a child. Were they the ones that made the most noise or had the most lights? No, our favorite toys growing up were the ones that we created. The simple stuffed animal that could be a rocket man, doctor or baby at any given point. The toys that had personality and characteristics that we invented and only we knew the extent of. Toys today come talking and walking with a personality of their own, leaving no room for imagination.
When we got home, we cleared out most of our sons toys that sing, dance and that he hardly plays with. We then took some Christmas money my mother had given to him specifically for toys, and headed to the toy store. We paid a higher dollar for the quality wooden and plain toys we bought, but found comfort knowing that they would stimulated Peanut and Miss Belle's imagination for years to come. One particular toy we bought was a little dump truck with a man sitting in the front seat. No sounds, whistles or motors. Peanut says he's the trash man. He hasn't put the thing down in two days.
Alive not Dead: an Adventure through Life
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