I am slowly getting the hint that whatever we buy for our boys they will almost always:
1. Play with the same toys they did before and
2. Create new toys out of things they find interesting.
We have made a spaceship out of an old TV box complete with pretend keyboard, copious amounts of tinfoil and coloured milk bottle tops for ‘important’ buttons. Oliver took off and went to goodness knows where dressed as a spaceman whilst clutching his packed picnic lunch. We’ve put up the tent in the living room (just the self-supporting inner) and he’s ‘gone camping’ complete with sleeping bag, torch, soft toys and a friend to share the midnight feast with. Our hallway has been turned into a runway where cars have slid down a cardboard tube (I asked hubbie to steal at the dead of night from a skip up the road) perched on the stairs and the winner was the one who got the cars to hit the front door. At other times the hall has been an ocean with 3 different sized cardboard galleons shooting at each other with the pirates then boarding the sinking ship. Kitchen roll tubes were used as daggers accompanied with much ‘arrrrgggghhhhhhhh –ing’
The playroom has been trashed on many occasions. I tidy at night and by early morning cushions have been pulled off the sofas and when I looked shocked and aghast the boys look at me as say ‘What?? We’re building dens…‘ Our wooden castle made for Oliver by his amazing Aunty has played host to many a bloody battle. The Lego men attack the Playmobil people, with soldiers adding the professional touch. Fire engines have ‘brrumed’ across the ramparts and then Bob the Builder is sent in afterwards to put it all back together again. The bath is perfect for deep sea diving, pretending to swim and hunting wild rays all this whilst the French attack the Russians in Oliver’s bedroom with the broken soldiers who’ve lost legs becoming the casualties who are ferried to hospital.
Through our dressing up box we have had firemen, cowboys, Luke Skywalker and Iggle Piggle to name but a few. Henry has investigated his nose with a pirate sword, see above for the evidence, and just loves his new Buzz Lightyear suit. The washing up bowl is huge fun on a rainy day, filling and emptying containers and then doing the drying up when the water is tipped away.
I watched Henry and Tobias spend nearly an hour playing with just 9 tennis balls they found on the carpet at the gym. They rolled them, used one as a jack that they then tried to aim for and hit. They rolled the balls as fast as they could, then s-l-o-w-l-y across the carpeted floor. Another little girl came to join them and they helped her try to hold as many as she could in her hands, she managed 8 of the 9 which we were all really impressed with! They then went on to play with a sandwich board ‘A’ frame blackboard. Tobias hiding in it and Henry working out the catch, undoing it and doing it back up as it began to fall. They spotted the false plants (I think they’re false?) with the tiny stones on top of the soil and off they went, taking them out and dropping them onto the floor and listening to the sounds as they hit each other.
As I watch my children and I see their amazing imaginations, they fact that they can make a toy out of anything or a game with rules and clearly defined winners and losers out of nothing and I do totally understand why my 6 year old is less than enthusiastic about spending 6 hours of his life sitting, mostly, behind a desk at school.
Oh yes, of course, that’s where he goes to ‘learn’…