It has always amazed me that my children – especially the younger ones – can find joy in the most arbitrary and mundane of objects.
When Megan was a baby, we were inundated with gifts from friends and family. She had more toys than we knew what to do with. Educational toys, soft toys, gender-specific toys, neutral ones. Dolls, cars, balls, bears, musical toys, moving toys… Sometimes, it drove me quite crazy!
But you know what her favourite thing was to play with at a year old? An empty 500ml Coke bottle with a couple of pebbles inside it.
Fast forward a couple of years and we happen upon a particularly smooth rock on a beach in Dubai. Said rock is dubbed “The Rubia” and remains a cherished possession for absolute ages. Until I finally had to make it disappear because The Rubia became the uninvited guest at the dinner table. The night time companion who just wouldn’t get the message when Megan desperately needed to get some sleep. The most fought-over item in the history of sibling fights. So I made the fairies “borrow” The Rubia, without whose magical guarding powers the poor fairy children could never sleep safely in their beds again.
Enter a 10cm piece of red string. Meet Ropey. Ropey, who had to accompany us on every single family outing. Who had his own special place to sit on the armrest of Megan’s car seat, his own little bed on her pillow at night. Ropey who, having made it all the way back to South Africa with us,
terrorised tagged along with us for at least another 18 months before being tragically snatched out of Megan’s had by a gust of wind on the N1 highway one day.
It is astounding how much beingness a child can grant to a random, inanimate object. And although the various bits and pieces of rubbish that my children have become attached to through the years have sometimes had me reaching for the vodka at completely inappropriate times, I have always loved that they could do that. That their imaginations are wild and magnificent, even though they could so easily pick up any of the dozens of store-bought toys they own and make up a game just as magical.
At this time of year, when everyone is gearing up for the Christmas holidays and we see more and more people begging at the traffic lights, it’s hard not to be reminded that for so many kids, those random object toys are not a choice: It’s all they know.
So, when I was contacted by Corli on behalf of The Topsy Foundation a little while ago, I jumped at the chance to spread the word about this awesomely cool initiative.
I’d seen other bloggers’ posts about The Little Toys that Aren’t, a project by The Topsy Foundation and online retailer Spree, and thought the whole concept just brilliant! Oddly enough, my kids would probably think it fantastic to play with this toy car:
Or this robot:
Almost as much as the little boys and girls who DO play with them would LOVE to have a car that actually looks like a car. Or to build a robot out of LEGO. Or to have a shiny, sparkly Fairy Princess Wand!
You can help make that happen buy spending R20 at Spree on one of The Little Toys that Aren’t. Spree will not keep a cent of your R20 – the full amount goes to The Topsy Foundation to spread some festive cheer where it is needed most this holiday season.
I know that my kids are definitely getting a couple of these in their stockings this year.