Tag Archives: simple toys

Simple toys from my childhood

I imported some blogger entries into this blog – but they will show up much earlier than this – my journals now reside here as well as blogger. I’d like to incorporate into this blog all of my blog posts someday, but not today.

A couple of days ago I mentioned my favorite playthings as a kid. Three I recall more or less vividly are my mom’s oil paint containers, spark plugs my dad brought home from work and a portable hi-fi.

I suppose it was the colors of the paint containers that made me notice them. These were not the tubes you see today, but small glass or see-through plastic vials with brightly colored paint inside. I’d divide them into the girls (pink, yellow, red, white) and boys (blue, green, brown, black) and play school. I think the teacher would be a larger vial. I could entertain myself for hours using these small paint containers.
My dad was a car mechanic when I was very young and he would sometimes bring me spark plugs. I don’t know why, but he did. And I liked it. They have a distinct shape, almost human-like. They also have ceramic and metal – both shiny when they are new. I don’t know if the spark plugs he’d bring me were new or not, but I liked to play with them.
Also related to playthings from my dad were the goodie-bags he’d bring me that Firestone sent to his garage. Probably promotional materials – what we call swag these days, I suppose, they usually contained a bright yellow inner tube with Firestone in red and black letters around the circle. I think they also contained a spark plug. Sometimes he would bring home an Christmas music LP from Firestone. I found a couple of them when I visited my mom so I brought them back home. This is the Christmas music I remember so well from my childhood.

I also remember that my dad used to make me stilts out of beer cans, rope and pebbles. He’d open and drink the beers (back before all beer cans were made from flimsy aluminum). This was also before pop-tops, so the cans would have two V shaped holes in the top. He’d put a few pebbles in the can and then loop a rope through the V shaped holes and tie it off at the hight my hands would be if I were standing on top of the cans and holding out my hands.

I’d climb on the cans, one foot on top of a can and walk around the house six inches taller. The pebbles would make a rattling sound when I walked. This site has the idea, but a bradawl was not needed when a can opener was handy.

So in this day and age when our kids have far too many toys, it’s nice to think back to the days when a few household items could entertain a child.