Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Re-Cre8ing ToyMaking

This powerful piece by none other than American favorite Norman Rockwell illuminates the power of play over cultural drift towards entertainment.  A power that I hope comes home to roost in America this century, as we have become inundated by mind-numbing entertainment from every corner.

According to the person who wrote this Smithsonian information snippet about the work, "The Toy Maker is a nostalgic reminder of old-time toy making, which almost disappeared when industrial manufacturing began replacing hand-work in the early years of the twentieth century. By 1920, a revival of toy making by New England woodworkers reflected a desire for simple toys that encouraged children to invent and imagine. The red, white, and blue whirligig in Rockwell's picture suggests that its creator was one of these American woodcrafters."  It seems that during the first decade of the 21st century, we could use a bit of the spirit of moms and pops from the 20's, giving our children, and ourselves, toys that require imagination, not simply unplugging on a sofa.  Play, my friends, is a key component of re-cre-8on.  (you'll see why i keep spelling re-cre-ate weirdly in a month or so when i get my logo up on the page)

If we take an honest look at what we do with most of our "leisure time".  Do not be deceived, leisure and recreation - while often used as synonymous terms - are not the same thing.  (See http://www.libraryindex.com/pages/1944/How-Americans-Spend-Their-Time-DEFINING-LEISURE-RECREATION.html)  Setting our children in front of a TV often does little to restore them to health, and often accomplishes the opposite.  A similar point could be made for how most of us Adult Americans spend half of our leisure time.  Don't believe me, look at this:  http://www.productivity501.com/how-much-time-do-you-actually-have/38/.  If we're spending half of our leisure time watching television, we're doing little or nothing to restore ourselves to health, which is often necessary after waging life's little wars at work and on our errands, etc.

Let's take a lesson from Rockwell's re-cre-8on of play.  Put down the Iphone or the remote and find a toy or activity that requires some imagination in order to play with it.  Re-cre-8on heals our bodies, minds, and souls in ways that Television can't, so let's get to it.


  1. Kyle,

    Great post....I featured it at http://beacondeacon.com


  2. Thanks Jamie. That's cool. Email me and fill me in on life sometime.