One of the coolest things about being a dad is re-discovery. As my sonopens doors, and windows and garden gates and finds treasures that are new to him, I re-discover treasures I had left in a safe place and eventually forgotten. The wonder of a mud puddle, the magical properties of snow and the thrill of jumping off a rock wall into the arms of dad: things that are new to him, the million moon landings he’ll make will re-light another of my lost boys, eager to fly a kite, pedal a bicycle and cower from a gopher snake as it slithers across the road.
I recently responded to a survey for which the main prompt was the following:
1) Please name your child’s favorite toy.
2) What is it about that toy that creates so much joy? How does it leverage the 5 senses to create a truly engaging experience?
That got me thinking. I couldn’t just name his favorite toy. We don’t have a rediculous amount of toys for him. Our living room isn’t that familiar mess of kids toys that take over and dominat the landscape. He has a toy box full of toys, and we put them away before he goes to bed. The box is the limit, if a new one goes in, an old one comes out. And none of them make noise.
So i thought about it for half a day, and came up with this:
My son’s favorite toy is a balloon. He is 25 months. I think balloons create joy by defying his expectations about how physical objects should behave. It seems to defy gravity. It is colorful, light and squishy, squeaky, smells like latex and tastes like dirt. Also, it is transitory. It starts out deflated and he likes watching it blow up. Then it has a life cycle that either ends abruptly or gradually degrades.
The image above is from The Big Picture for today, which features entires in the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. The image is “My Balloon: H’Mong minority children were playing with their balloons on the foggy day in Moc Chau – Ha Giang province Viet Nam. (Vo Anh Kiet/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest).
I think this image accurately portrays what the magic of a balloon means to a kid. The rest of the images in todays Big Picture aren’t bad either.
What is your kid’s favorite toy?