It’s Saturday and -12°F. While I’m still a grandma-wannabe, I am thinking about all the kids playing in their homes today. I remember the days of blanket forts covering our living room. I laughingly recall the many performances I watched of our kids ‘shows’ on their makeshift stage. But most of all, I love recalling the kids vanishing to the ‘Playmobil room’ in our basement to live in their make-believe city for the afternoon. Yes, in our home ‘Playmobil’ got an entire basement room. For our young family, it was the best investment we ever made.
Play matters. In this era of over-scheduled kids, some stressed from their super-enriched lives, the value of simple unstructured play gets forgotten. Play really does matter.
Imagination ran wild in our Playmobil city. A make-believe tornado once leveled Abby’s house. Becca’s zookeeper struggled to keep the animals inside because Mark’s jeep would occasionally off-road and take out a fence. The firetruck really could squirt water (just a bit). If needed, the boat truly motored through the bathtub. And the modern house stayed modern because it got renovated every day.
I need to thank my sister-on-law Jen for first introducing us to Playmobil. She had several pieces at her daycare and they were a huge hit with the kids. I was skeptical of the small pieces at first, but I soon learned those pieces were the details the kids loved most. My husband and I often said, Playmobil was the cheapest toy we ever bought because the kids spent so many, many, many hours playing with it. But it wasn’t just our kids who played with our Playmobil city. Visiting cousins and friends’ kids headed there first. When our kids eventually outgrew Playmobil (middle school age!) we sent ‘the city’ to my sister’s house for her young kids to enjoy. Really, it is that durable!
To all the young parents out there, just turn the kids loose and let them play today. Let the kids turn their imaginations free. Let them be explorers. Let them work out their differences with each other, without we adults interfering. I think everything they’ll accidentally learn while playing is just what we all need.
Maybe George Bernard Shaw put it best, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
As a self proclaimed “retail nerd”, Sue has been in the retail business for over 20 years owning and managing specialty gift stores in west central Minnesota. She and her husband love to travel and explore unique destinations. While doing so, they also gather ideas to bring home. Sue and Doug have three grown children and live in Perham, Minnesota.