Today I asked my friend, who lived for 2 years in the African bush, "what do 5 years old in Nambia play with?"
Mr A and I were watching Storage Wars the other night (yes, I know its fake...) and they came across an antique piano toy thing that was really cool. It's a far cry from the iPads of today, but it had hand-painted dancing dolls and whatever. I began thinking about what makes a real classic toy - something a child of the modern era could enjoy just as much as a child of the 1800s.
Legos are great and action figures, robots and cars never seem to go out of style. But, still, all these things rely on plastic and batteries, etc. Wooden blocks came to mind. Balls, too. But what else?
So, I asked this friend about Zambian children and she tells me, "I don't know. Rocks, leaves, sticks, mango pits, whatever."
Thinking about this for a second, reflecting on my children's baskets bursting with toys, I ask her, "are they bored?"
She looks me straight in the eye and tells me, "No way! You have never seen happier, more active children in your life. All they do is play."
I don't want to over-entertain my kids. I want to engage their imagination and curiosity using playthings, but I don't want to kill their innate ability to find joy in whatever the Earth provides them. In fact, I would prefer it if that were the primary source for entertainment.