My son's favorite toy is a piece of crown molding.
I really love watching Chris and Ezra play together. Chris can take any mundane object and transform it into an outrageously fun gadget in the blink of an eye. Whenever we walk through the toy isles of Target, he is constantly pointing things out and saying, "I could totally make that" or "Why would you spend $30.00 on a plastic car track when kids could just roll their toy cars down a slanted piece of unused crown molding?"
OK, maybe he never said those exact words outloud, but that's exactly what he used to create Ezra's most favorite toy ever. We prop one end of a piece of crown molding up on Ezra's window seat, and put the other end on the floor, and Ezra will play in his room for an hour- just rolling one car after another down the slanted piece of varnished wood. This, apart from the train track Chris made him, is his favorite thing to play with. And it was free.
Then, last night, there was this:
I love the way Chris is teaching Ezra to play because it involves creativity and imagination... Ezra will grow up looking at things and figuring out how he could use them unconventionally. He will be able to entertain himself well even if he's not waist deep in a sea of primary colored Fisher Price toys.
Don't get me wrong, here. We buy our child toys like anyone else. I LOVE to shop for toys for him. I'm noticing that when I get 'alone time' and am perusing the isles of my favorite store, I always end up in the toy department and I almost certainly will spend MOST of my time there. And Ezra loves toys too. But the ones he is constantly returning to are the ones that didn't come in a box from a store, and I think that's just peachy.
The only down side to this whole set-up is that after Chris and Ezra have spent some alone time together, it's pretty much inevitable that the next day (when Ezra and I are hanging out again) he'll run up to me holding, like, a spoon and a lampshade and he'll push them into my hands with this expectant little look on his face and I'm all "Huh?" and he's all, "GRUNT! Uhhhh! Badadoo!" and then I have to call Chris and be like, "What the heck did you guys do last night that involved a spoon and a lampshade??