Toys from my childhood

I’m currently away, with my family in a city. We do this trip regularly so our kids can see all their relatives, so we’re quite seasoned travellers. We’re staying with my parents, and I’ve just spent a morning pulling out toys that I used to play with as a kid. My parents carefully put them away and bring them out for their grandkids – can you imagine doing that with some of today’s toys? Anyway, here is my little wander down memory lane.

The old Tupperware shape sorter. For people who didn’t have one of these growing up, it’s a ball with one red side, one blue side and lots of different shaped holes. There are yellow blocks to post through the holes, and they open out to let all the blocks out. My Mum’s has lost the spring in the middle and lost two shapes, which is not bad for 30 years of use. We have one exactly the same at home, so my youngest fell on it with glee and has been posting shapes.

Wooden blocks. We’ve looked for these and found them quite hard to find, and the ones we have seem to be a lot lighter. These are the good old fashioned blocks with some weight behind them, they build walls and bridges and don’t fall over.

A wooden abacus. My eldest happily played with it, telling me that she uses a big one at the park. I remember playing with it myself, I never realised what it was but thought it was some sort of musical instrument, because you can make all sorts of cool noises with the wooden beads.

Books.  Ah yes, the box set of Beatrix Potter. In beautiful condition and with all the lovely paintings. These stories are now over a hundred years old and are of such a different time and place. When I read them to my eldest I often wonder what she can get from them, the animals and way of life are so foreign to her. But she loves them. I suppose they are a fantasy for her, with little talking rabbits and foxes and squirrels collecting nuts. They’re actually a great example of something I remember from when she was little. An early childhood educator was talking about reading and its importance and said – a child who reads experience so much more than one who doesn’t. A reading child is a city child who has visited a farm, an inland child who has been to the beach, an Australian child who has explored the jungle. So through my parents’ carefully kept books my 21st century digital child knows about herb gardens and squirrels and owls and hand washing and open fires.

I hope I can keep things for my grandchildren to share.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by plahski on June 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    We have about a million books that have been handed down to our daughter!!

    My mother in law always gives me these toys and claims “this was your husband’s first ever toy!” I have about 5 or 6 of my husbands “first ever toy”… I think she forgets that she already gave me the “first ever toy” about 4 times…



  2. Posted by Capricious on June 26, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    I love thinking back on my childhood toys, and we are trying to ‘furnish’ Toby’s playroom with them too. We have some little coloured wooden blocks but also want to get our hands on some really sturdy ones with some oomph behind them. We are thinking of making them ourselves- they are so hard to find.

    I recently pulled out my coloured wooden abacus for our little boy too- so far he is enthralled with it. I have no idea what he thinks it is (he is only 10 months) but he manages to get hours of fun with it.

    And the old Tupperware shape sorter! I thought this was a blast from the past too, until I was given one as a baby shower gift. You can still get them from Tupperware! And if you wanted, can even order the shapes you have lost.

    I don’t know whether I am just nostalgic, but I would like my little boy growing up with these type of toys- plus plastic animals, authentic musical instruments, lego and duplo and matchbox cars. Already we enjoy the simplicity of cardboard boxes. I love being a Mum, it’s such a good excuse to relive your own childhood!


  3. Posted by Coran on June 27, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Yeah, it’s pretty cool to take the kids to Mum’s place and see my old toys being played with. We’ve got the Tupperware shape sorter, still intact and with all the pieces. I’ve even replaced the rubber band so it springs back into place. The kids also play with my old box of matchbox cars. I can remember when some of them were new, and a very few were first owned by my father. Let’s not forget the Lego – my eldest loves to play with my old Lego, that forces you to be more creative because the pieces are simpler.

    Most of our books got recycled through my Mum’s special ed classroom, but plenty of my old Little Golden Books came back. My favourite handed-down book is a battered copy of “The Night Before Christmas” that my father would always read to us on Christmas eve, and that I now get to read to my kids. Wherever we happen to be for Christmas, that book goes with us.


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