If you are anything like me, you can spend hours just browsing through toy stores. Around each corner is another memory from childhood that comes rushing back. The classic toys of our past are sure to have us wandering down memory lane in no time but it was the lure of the "newest" and "award-winning" speciality toys that convinced me, I was a grown-up toy addict with a habit to satisfy. I knew it was bad when I found myself buying Barbie Dolls for my 2 year old that I secretly coveted.
Is it weird for an adult to play with toys? It is a question that I have asked myself whenever I purchase the latest Bionicle, telling the cashier that it is a "gift" for a fictional nephew. Would they think less of me if they knew assembling it was how I planned on spending my Saturday night? Maybe they would murmur "tsk tsk" under their breath if they knew I often spent a big chunk of my grocery budget buying Breyer's Horses.
I decided to do some research in an effort to try and set aside any anxiety I might be feeling about my toy habit. I took to Google and read about grown-ups who have figured out how to earn their living playing with toys. Closet addicts, no doubt. I found blogs about people who proudly proclaim that they "still play with toys"! One of those blogs hinted at the writer's childless status as being due to the fact that they "don't want to share". Hilarious and sad at the same time.
Then I read this article:
"People who are intrinsically motivated do things because they want to, not because someone else expects them to. In general, they accomplish more than people who are motivated by external forces (like bosses and parents and rules), and they’re healthier and happier.
When children play freely, they are manifesting intrinsic motivation in its purest form. According to psychiatrist Peter Gray, “activity oriented toward intrinsic goals, almost by definition, is play.” Children do exactly what they want to do and learn a lot, and they have a great deal of fun in the process. By playing freely, the book Flow states, children “acquire the skills and attitudes required for successful adulthood.”"
It was then that I realized that we are doing it wrong. Rather than only giving the gift of free-flow play to the children of this world, we needed to get adults to realize the value of learning to play like a child. We sometimes forget how amazing it feels to get lost in our imaginations and toys are a great facilitator of that experience. So, now I am not only proud to be an adult who plays with toys, I try to persuade other adults to do the same. I understand now that humanity is depending on me to be a shining example of a "successful adult". I will run right out and get a new teddy bear to celebrate!
For the very best selection of educational and speciality toys, for ALL ages, please visit our website or one of our 4 area toy shoppes and browse to your heart's content!