What are your guesses at the top 5 toys of all time?
Nintendo Wii? Cabbage patch dolls? Tickle Me Elmo? Beanie Babies? GI Joe? Nope. None of the above.
Click this link to find The 5 Best Toys of all Time according to Wired.com. (I was directed to this article by http://www.churchandculture.org). I think they’re right. While all of these toys cross the cultures of the world, the stick, string and dirt cross the centuries and even millennia of human existence. Well – they might not cross into much of today’s culture of bubble-wrapped kids who stay indoors and play video games… but those youngsters are missing out!
Every kid can have great fun with these. Unfortunately, it’s often us parents who get in the way of such fun. To me, this article is a good reminder of the fun that can be had with unsuspecting objects. Simple, cheap, imaginative fun. Let that be a solace to us in the weeks to come as we see our kids already lose interest in the battery operated gadgets they got for Christmas.
One of my daughter Gracie’s favourite toys to play with is a shoe box with a string attached to it. She pulls it around on the floor, carting her other toys here and there. So simple and so fun! She doesn’t care that it didn’t cost us a dime. She’s also discovered the delight of a wrapping paper role. She thinks its funny when daddy amplifies his voice and makes weird noises through the tube. It’s still a little tough for her to hold such a long tube up to her mouth and do the same, but she’ll get there.
When I look back on my younger years I do remember playing NHL ’98 hockey on our computer for hours on end. I also remember playing with a fantastic electric train set. However, those are not the times that I look back upon most fondly when I reflect on younger years. Instead, I think about playing rodeo in the yard with my brothers. All we required was a rope and our imagination. One of us would fly around on hands and knees as the calf, and the other would be the cowboy attempting success with the lasso. I also recall playing backyard baseball. All we needed was a ball, stick and glove and we’d re-enact the winning plays of my boyhood hero Robbie Alomar and his Toronto Blue Jays. This was great fun with such simple toys.
One of the greatest things about these basic toys is that they beckon the imagination of the child. Brittany, my wife, made a comment to me the other day… mentioning that when kids have so many toys with lights, whistles, gestures, flashes and songs it perhaps stifles their imagination. When the toys offer so much stimulation, a child is amused without having to create the enjoyment with the capacity of his or her mind. I had not thought of that before, but it sure is an excellent point. I think she’s on to something.
So, this all being said, I am not opposed to fancy and fun toys for kids. I enjoyed video games and I figure my kids will spend more than a few hours with them too. Grace sure enjoys her nifty little baby she got for Christmas that snores when it sleeps, sucks when you feed it, burps when you’re done, and giggles when you squeeze it. Such toys are great fun! However, this list also reminds me that my kids don’t need all the toys that are the latest and greatest fads in order to have an enjoyable childhood. It reminds me that often life’s greatest delights are found in the simplest of places.
Do you think you can figure out with your kids how to enjoy a stick, cardboard box, string, cardboard tube and dirt all at the same time? Sounds like fertile ground for the imagination.
What are your thoughts? How did you enjoy these 5 as a kid or now with your kids? Are there any simple but wonderful toys you’d like to share? Post a comment if you wish 🙂