Who Needs Toys?

It’s official—my boys do not need any more toys. In fact, I’m tempted to execute a “take no prisoners” purging in the toy closet this week.


Well, I’ll tell you. The boys have floors shelves filled with puppets, board games, puzzles, science kits, Star Wars ships, musical instruments of torture and Hot Wheels. And do you know what Boys #2 and #3 played with the most this weekend? (Besides the Wii, of course.)

1. The cap to a Gatorade bottle.

2. A WALL-E toothbrush.

I kid you not.

Don’t get me wrong. I love that the boys can use their imaginations. I love that they went from using the bottle cap as some sort of gasket when they were pretending to be plumbers to then transforming it into a puck for a make-it-up-as-you-go game at the baseball field. I love that the WALL-E toothbrush was the “good guy” fighting against the “bad guy” (the dog’s stuffed rabbit toy) and that WALL-E’s headquarters was—again—a Gatorade bottle with a plastic Easter tumbler on top. I love that the Gatorade bottle with the WALL-E toothbrush then became “syrup” when jellybeans were added to the bottle. (But I really didn’t love actually “drinking” that syrup. Especially when it involved eating one of those jellybeans that was mysteriously wet. *Blech.*)

I just feel bad that we have all of these toys that don’t get played with. And that take up space. And that represent enough money to purchase several water wells in Africa.

Why don’t we just accept that kids will be kids and will make up their own fun if all they have at their disposal is an empty toilet paper tube and a stick? Why do we get so wrapped up in buying “the right toys” when many times they get played with for a few days and then forgotten? Why do we knock one another down to snag the last Elmo-Sings-Another-Annoying-Song off the shelf? Why do we think that telling kids what to play is more beneficial than letting kids make up their own play?

Okay, I don’t think you’ve really ever sucker-punched another parent at Toys R Us, but I think it’s easy for all of us to get sucked into that “more is better” mentality when it comes to toys—at least sometimes. I’m definitely guilty of it (the “more is better” thing, not the sucker-punching thing), though I’m not really sure why. Growing up, we had some toys, but we definitely didn’t have the majority of the toys we marked every year in the Sears Christmas Catalog. And although I do remember a few of my toys (the Bionic Woman doll with the broken leg from being thrown into a tree to see if I could get her stuck there, the stuffed walrus that I got for my birthday in 4th grade and was with me when I walked into the classroom that morning and threw up all over the floor), what I remember more was…

  • Playing Gilligan’s Island and smashing mulberries into a seashell for Ginger’s lipstick.
  • Picking out the characters from The Dukes of Hazzard from among our Crunchy Cheetos and then re-enacting our favorite episode (with orange fingers).
  • Creating our own The Price Is Right game show and inviting the neighbor girls over to compete for fabulous prizes (straight out of our junk toy room.)

Hmm…apparently we only played “TV shows.”

And as I’m writing this (and thinking how I desperately need to GO TO BED since it is now “tomorrow”), I feel a pang of guilt because I remember the one thing Boy #3 wanted to do ALL WEEKEND but never got to do:

Dig for worms.

What a stereotypical boy, huh?

Yeah. And I love it—dirt under the fingernails and all.


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