“When I am grown to man’s estate I shall be very proud and great. And tell the other girls and boys not to meddle with my toys!” – Robert Louis Stevenson
If you believe roller skates should have keys, made a game of picking up wooden sticks with painted ends, created endless works of art with the simple help of two plastic buttons only to shake them all away and start again, or spent countless hours running up and down the stairs only to watch a spring crawl down them, then we’re in for an afternoon that’s better than a barrel of monkeys!
Today we take a step back into our childhood in our continuing series “Olde School“. When I was a mere tadpole every classroom was equipped with the usual fare required to educate curious little minds, but if your grade school was anything like mine, it also had a corner filled with toys. As the teacher tried her best to convince me that math could be fun, it was all I could do to make it to the bell that meant the fastest one to the corner got their choice of the toys!
While the toy corners at my school never once included a thirty-pound cannon ball in a bookcase, they did indeed include a doll carriage. Once I figured out that sitting at the back of the class gave you a distinct advantage in the sprint to the play area, the doll carriage was always my first choice. Designed to reflect the real prams of the day, they were ornately embellished with delicate iron curves that would easily survive the challenge of the younger sibling using it as a race car. As generations of baby-dolls, and perhaps a few other assorted and beloved little critters all took their rightful turn as the contents, these sturdy little vehicles outlasted every coat of paint a dad could throw on them.
Simple and designed to last, these toys were not equipped with any buttons or whistles like the electronic toys of today. They did not run on battery power, they ran on imagination. I cannot help but giggle at the thought of a child today getting a blob of silly putty in their Christmas stocking. Would they even know what it is? Well, even if they got that far, they would surely never know about pressing it against the comic strips and stretching the faces all out of shape. Now, that was good fun!
And while perhaps Rock’em Sock’em Robots weren’t quite as exciting as some of the video games available today, at least when you lost your head you could simply pop it back on! And if you found yourself in a real pickle, you could always rely on the platoon of tiny plastic green soldiers that you kept at the ready in your Superman lunchbox.
I must admit, some of my most cherished memories are of my grandfather trying to fold his legs underneath himself as we sat for hours on the livingroom floor creating eclectic works of art through the magic of Spirograph. Incomplex and unassuming, whether you fancied Easy-Bake ovens or Tinker-Toys, Legos or Yo-yos, they required much more than just moving your thumbs on a control pad. They required cooperation, innovation, creativity and make-believe. The very kind of make-believe that childhoods are made of.
Thanks ever so much for joining us today, I must say it’s been more fun than an afternoon with the Fisher-Price Little People! Whatever your day looks like today, we hope that you bring a little bit of childhood to each and every moment.
Until next time!