The Toys of Summer (This simplicity is all any kid needs)

The best summer days are those that are simple. We don’t have to complicate things. As kids, all you really need for a fun summer day is a ball, a stick and a box.

The best-selling toys from this last Christmas season were hi-tech inventions, full of innovation and wizardry. Many of them need batteries or a manual. If I was a kid, I might be fascinated with them for a while, but then go back to something simple.

If you look at the best-selling toys of all time include the Hula Hoop, the View Master, the Slinky, the Pet Rock, Zhu Zhu pets, Mr. Potato Head, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Gameboys, Barbie, and Nerf balls – most succeeded because of their creative, ingenious simplicity.

I have owned many of them, or at least my kids did. After they were safely tucked in bed, I might even play with them, for research sake of course. But my best toys as a kid were the simple ones — A stick. A ball. A box. And it’s been that way for generations.

Don’t get me wrong. My parents bought me toys, although they rarely bought anything for themselves. But when I was out with my brother and Kim and Tammy and Carol from next door, it was a stick that we used. With sticks we poked at the frogs in the drainage ditch. With sticks we would fight each other, pretending to defend the castle. Everyone needed a stick.


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Alexander Dummer

And every kid needs a ball. We had a basketball that we wore thin down to the core. We would play horse and pig, shooting baskets until the light was completely gone. And we had a kickball that we found tucked in the weeds down on Laura Drive. It was abandoned and just begged for some kids to love it. We showered it with affection as we kicked it back and forth.  We had baseballs too, and nerf balls, and a big red ball. A big tub in the garage was supposed to be for the balls, but they were always in the lawn or in the garage for my mom to stumble over.

Life was sweeter whenever we found a good box. A shoebox was a place for a frog. A milk carton ws a place to haul dirt. Refrigerator boxes were the best, buecaseu we cut cut them and create forts or temporary homes, that we could store our balls in and defend with our sticks.

What more does a kid need than a stick, a ball and a box?

The older I get, the more I’m reminded of the simple days and the simple ways. What do I really need in life?

A friend. A book. A patch of green grass. 

I’m happy.

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