The Play Forum is a collection of voices from parents and people in the toy and children’s entertainment industries. Read what’s on their minds, and join the conversation.
I was not that kid who neglected or out grew her toys. I loved them all and played with them until they broke or got lost. I had all kinds of toys: dolls, kitchen sets, games, stuffed animals, little robots, video games, card games, bikes, scooters and more. I even had a race track set. No such thing as boys only toys in my house. My most favorite of all were my dolls. I still have a warm place in my heart for Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. At the age of 32 I’m not ashamed to say I still have about six Cabbage Patch Kid dolls in my basement right now.
The thing I loved most about toys was how they encouraged my imagination. They took me out of reality to a world where I could be anything and anywhere. With my medical kit I could be a doctor, nurse or patient. On my bike I could go shopping or on a tour of the country. With my dolls it was my turn to be the mom. Or if I lined them up I would miraculously turn into a professor and teach them a lesson.
I do miss those days. Now, I enjoy the times I get to be a kid again and play with my nieces and nephews. I look forward to playing with watching my future children play with their toys. I look forward to zoning out and forgetting all of the stresses and worries of the adult world. I look forward to watching my future children discover the picture at the end of a jigsaw puzzle and remembering how I felt as a kid.
But you know what? I really don’t have to wait for my nieces and nephews to come over or my future children to be born. I can create my own time to play and so can you. We can set aside a few minutes whenever we feel stressed and overwhelmed with adulthood and just turn into a kid again. Get a toy of your choosing and zone out.
I confess I have a couple. One is the hand held 24Q game. It is cool because this little thing really can guess what you are thinking of in 24 questions or less. But my absolute favorite is a very simple set of toys, a coloring book and crayons. Every now and then I’ll just sit for 15 or 20 minutes and color the grass blue and the skies green. The relaxing repetitive motion of the crayon against page can be relaxing. The biggest decision involved is whether or not to stay within the lines. A little time to play can bring you Joy reminiscent of your childhood.
Have you ever considered turning to toys for stress relief? What do you do when it is time to play?