The thoughts I had the other day about cats and kids being more entertained by a box than a toy made me consider some of the best toys I had growing up. Though I had a good number of toys when I was a kid, I realized the thing that served me best through them all was my imagination. A toy is after all only as good as the use it is put to. Dolls become a class that a child is “teaching”; an over-sided box becomes a house; a tent on the deck becomes a wilderness adventure. All these things came to be through imagination. It is the best toy and toy accessory a child can have.
There are many other examples I could give from my own childhood of how helpful my imagination was. I was homeschooled and so did not have the “benefit” to have other kids around me constantly to entertain me. My brother was in public high school and then college and my sister didn’t always share my interests. My imagination aided me in going my own way and creating my own adventures. Such as when it was nice out taking some containers and going on a nature walk somewhere on our family’s farm. We have just under 400 acers so there are plenty of places to go. I would pretend to be a scientist on a great expedition to explore the surrounding region of a recently discovered area. I would gather different things to study and take them back home at the end of my walk. Then I would lay them out and decide what I would use to examine them closer. I would use my magnifying glass to look at large items and a microscope for looking at smaller and clear items such as pond water. I really think this is where I got my love of science, especially nature sciences.
Of course, imagination can be productive under good situations and bad in others. I had some unnecessary anxiety and fears growing up that I had to deal with to be a productive and stable adult, but who growing up didn’t have these to some extent? It made me more comfortable in solitude than with company. I realized this early on however I had church and 4-H activities to counteract it. Because of these activities building my social skills I can interact as well with all other ages as I can those similar to my own. I am still an introvert and somewhat antisocial at times. Given the character of a large portion of general society I may be better off! Haha!
This all being said, I am truly thankful for the imagination and character that my being homeschooled created. Without my imagination, I would have had a truly dull childhood and even current existence. I guess it is still one of my greatest toys.