Star Wars: Reuse Strikes Back!
We have a basket of recyclable items in our playroom that the kids refer to as the reuse bin full of egg cartons, empty food boxes, cardboard toilet paper rolls, bottle caps, etc. The reuse bin is constantly in use because that stuff can become whatever the kids dream of. Lately our house is all Star Wars all the time, so naturally light sabers were in need. Amazingly, the kids have not requested actual toy light sabers with beeps and blinks and batteries (I keep wondering if this will happen) but instead enjoyed some instant gratification by making their own:
So simple, yet so entertaining for them. In fact, other than asking lots and lots of questions about their uncle's famed vintage Star Wars collection up in Seattle, they really haven't requested any Star Wars toys. These they've built themselves. The Millenium Falcon can be built out of blocks; it doesn't fly, but it's so big that they can build all of the rooms. A starfighter is made from a macaroni and cheese box, and other small craft out of Legos. And the characters? Well, we have an entire galaxy of characters:
(Can you spot Chewbacca? Hint: he's blue.) The kids did receive four action figures as a gift recently (so cheaply made, it's sad) but they've not asked for any others. Apparently, they don't need them! I was very reluctant to introduce the Star Wars franchise into our home, particularly to our innocent four-year old, but all in all it's been okay. Many books are being written about new Star Wars adventures (featuring the long-lost sister of Luke and Leia, Eleit Skywalker.) And my husband and the kids toss trivia questions to each other constantly: "What frozen planet did the rebel army use as base in Episode 5?" "Oh, oh, the Hoth planet!" It's fun watching them enjoy something I enjoyed as a kid.
I've been thinking about toys a lot lately, particularly when the playroom is so full of imagination these days. By far, the toys the kids play with the most are the open-ended ones: wooden blocks and Legos, Zolo's and train tracks, and the stuff from the reuse bin. Other toys are incorporated into these creations, but these fundamentals are the stars because they can be whatever the kids want them to be. We could probably double or triple the amount of blocks we have in exchange for getting rid of some of the oft-neglected toys (Playmobil airport, anyone?).