I have always been a big fan of toys. For as long as I can remember.
Believe it or not, this started way back when I was a kid. Yep. That was all I could think of at times, when I was in my youth.
Playing. With toys. Imagining. Floating along without a care, as I dove into the world of make-believe and the land of pretend. I would explore, for hours on end, all the possibilities.
It seems like when we turn into adults, we forget about this wonder, this magic, that we all knew as children. At some point, someone tells us that the circle of make-believe is immature. Babyish. They give us stern instructions that we need to grow up and that playing is frivolous. A waste of time. And we listen.
Growing up, I had some favorite toys for sure. I really loved my Sockmonkey. My GI Joes. My Fisher-Price Little People. The most popular toys of the 1960s, included the Easy-Bake Oven, Barbie, and Tonka Trucks. These were never on my list for Santa. Too sissy. Too sissy. Too motor-head. Respectively. However, some other stand-outs of that era included the Slinky, Play-Dough, and the Frisbee. All of those were in my bag of tricks.
I saw an article about the most popular toys of the past 35 years. Of course, I was interested. Until I clicked on the list and realized that I was in college by the time these all had come out. Time kicks you in the rear end sometimes. I had no idea I was this old, when I clicked on the article.
Anyway. The past 35 years brought some favorites. My college roommate, Lisa, had a Cabbage Patch Kid, a popular choice for the 80’s. Her name was Myrna Luna, I think. I used to kidnap Myrna Luna, and hold her for ransom. It would put Lisa completely on edge. It was not an easy thing to be my roommate in college. I can assure you.
My favorite toy of all time came out in 1988. The Nintendo Entertainment System. NES. I spent a lot of hours after work, with the Super Mario Brothers and Zelda.
But we lose our true sense of play. For children, play is essential to development. It helps our well-being on several fronts, including the cognitive, the physical, and the emotional. It also helps our social skills to develop.
But then, our society tends to dismiss play for adults. It is perceived as unproductive, pointless, insignificant. We have this notion that once we reach adulthood… we really need to get serious. And if we do engage in play, it is typically in a competitive way.
Here is the good news. Studies are now saying that play is just as pivotal and essential for adults as it is for kids. We need that. We really do. I’ve read the studies. There is even an organization called The National Institute for Play which is dedicated to the subject.
There should always be some time for play I think. Maybe today, we can all make a little space for just that. Talk in a funny voice, draw a picture, make a puppet, ride an elevator backward …. anything.
I really think the world would be better if we all would put on our play hats, and believe in the magic. Visit the Land of Pretend and the World of Make-Believe, once again.
“Life is more fun if you play games.”
― Roald Dahl, My Uncle Oswald
“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.”
― Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
“Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.”
― Albert Einstein