My niece tries to teach me things about playing. She tucks stuffed animals into my bed and instructs me to hold them when sleeping. She encourages me to talk to them and listen to what they say. I'm sure she thinks I have a mental deficiency requiring remedial therapy. She may be right. I think my dog Penny understands toys better than I do.
There didn't seem much point to playing with inanimate objects to me when I was a child since it seemed like I was provided with a seemingly never-ending supply of younger brothers. Why diaper a doll when the baby needs changed? And what's fun about that smelly mess? It was much more satisfying housebreaking those boys, but that activity didn't seem to be represented in the toy store. Besides, I rapidly came to the decision that babies aren't that much fun to play with since all they really do is lay around or cry, and plastic dolls are even less fun than that. At least babies start walking and talking and getting more interesting eventually.
I did play cards at Grandma's, played chess with Dad, and did science projects with my uncle. I used my brother's Tonka truck to make city constructions in the sand box while contemplating a career in architecture. I learned how to shoot arrows and a rifle, and learned the finer points of boxing. I played volleyball, badminton, croquet, and tag.
Looking back on my approved play activities, it seems like everything was designed to instruct, fight, or develop athleticism. Nothing was quite for fun. I just found fun in whatever I was doing. Well, maybe pelting Dad with snowballs, but snow came free instead of from the toy store. No, come to think of it, Dad wanted to teach proper defense and offense strategies which would theoretically be useful in the future. He was especially pleased with surprise attacks.
My most real toys might've been my crayons?
I certainly knew about toys when I was little. I lived near a very wealthy area, and there were the "haves" and the "have nots", and it was pretty clear which side of things I was on. The rich kids had everything a toy store could supply. I envied them for a while, especially for the metal pedal cars they drove around their perfect lawns, but you can only pedal so much before it starts getting boring. Why don't we bake cookies or climb a tree or something?
I often think kids are too spoiled these days. They have too much plastic junk made in China, and they don't really appreciate much of it. I see it on the tree lawns on trash day and want to scream about recycling, but I repeatedly give in to my niece's requests for stuffed animals at garage sales. I guess that's recycling, right? Maybe I'm teaching her a valuable life lesson because I'm thrifty? Okay, cheap, but I'll spring 25 cents for a plush something when it makes her so happy. I wonder what they talk about when she tucks them into bed?