Thursday, May 27, 2010

Imagination is Child’s Play

There’s some irony in what I’m about to say….I find myself longing for the “good old days” more and more.  So in addition to the irony, let me add that by making that statement I really am officially over the hill.

Specifically what I miss is the way children used to play.  So much of what we did was based on imagination and the belief that we could do anything.

My brother and I spent hours – literally – playing with Legos.  The Lego from years ago was not like the fancy packages in the stores now and in fact, those packages would probably sneer at our antique bricks.  But since we were limited to squares and shapes instead of premade people, we built reindeer as our people.  Sometimes we’d build enough reindeer that we practically would have an army!  We also had trays made for Legos, so we would use those as the reindeer houses and build furniture on them.  And each family would interact with the other reindeer tray houses nearby.

The reindeer families would play, go to work, fight off the bad guys and live their lives.  And when we would finish our play we would take the structures apart so that we could start fresh the next day.

My concern is all the games and toys that take away so much of the imagination part of play.  We were out to eat dinner recently and saw a youngish boy sitting at the table with his family, his head down and thumbs moving feverishly on his electronic game.  Where is the interaction in the family?

Of course what got my thoughts headed this direction was my darling granddaughter Brooklyn.  She’ll be 3 in about 6 weeks and when we were recently in Oklahoma celebrating Mother’s Day I caught her playing and was able to video it.  Usually when she sees the camera she gets a case of the sillies and it doesn’t work.

She’s playing with some M&M plastic figures (buddies she calls them) that in a previous life were part of a string of lights to hang outside.  Mom had washed them and Brook had a grand time playing with them.  Watching her kind of bounce the “buddy” that was talking is what made me think back.  I so remember doing that – whichever reindeer we would be holding would be bounced when we would make it talk.

And I really am aware that there are some good things that come out of the electronic games and I’ll have a post on that soon.  Today was a combination full heart from watching Brooklyn play and remembering playing toys with my brother.

Life is good.   :)


Renna said...

My computer's acting up, so that all I see is a white box in where I suspect is a picture of a cutie playing with the M & M figures. I'll picture her as I know her to look and say "she's darling" ('cause she is!). :-D

My husband and I often reflect on the difference in the way kids play from the way we played as children. For one thing, we walked, rode our skateboard, or rode our bike everywhere we went. I remember my bike being my most 'necessary' possession. It got me places! ;-)

Of course, life was safer back then. Part of that could be that we lived in a small town, but there really was less evil in the world. We'd leave the house on a summer morning, and often not return until we heard our moms calling us for dinner that night. After dinner, we'd head back outside to chase lightening bugs, or just lie on the grass and watch the stars. Staying inside would've been torture. Now, I so seldom see kids playing outside. Yes, life has changed so much since then.

Cindy said...

I so agree and I also miss those days when my kids would turn a plain cardboard box into all kinds of things...a castle, a cave, a race car, a tent in the wilderness.

Bernie said...

Ha, you played Reindeer games!

Karo said...

You know, I remember playing outside from daylight to dark when I was little. My cousins and I would hit the woods running and play all day. Some of the newer toys and games are great, but I also think there's a lack of imagination with some kids these days.