Exciting times at Bunker Acres. Jack is only a few weeks away from his first birthday and I’ve got a brilliant present in mind – a 6ft 6in x 2ft 6in internal pine door, with brass fittings. I know he’ll love it.
It never ceases to amaze me just how much entertainment children can create from something that was never designed to be entertaining.
Our house is littered with a massive selection of toys and games that are brightly-coloured, flashing or pump out a catchy tune.
Some of the greatest brains on the planet have spent time, money and effort researching the best way to amuse and stimulate a child.
Not only for recreational purposes, but also for their personal and social development.
All Jack wants to do is push one particular door closed and then re-open it.
To spice things up, he occasionally pushes the door so hard that it clicks into the latch, then he’ll start rolling about on the floor wailing with frustration that he can’t continue with this exciting phenomenon!
Don’t get me wrong, I like a door as much as the next man, in fact I own quite a few myself.
But, given the choice of playing with a big and bright dinosaur jigsaw, or continually getting my little cocktail sausage fingers wedged into a door frame for the umpteenth time, surely the puzzle has to win?
It’s been a similar scenario with a giant cardboard box that has ended up in our garden.
We’ve just inherited and bought a pile of well-used Little Tikes garden toys.
This equipment is literally screaming out: ‘Come and give me your best shot, you can swing, spin and climb all over me – it’s the very reason for my being’.
You guessed correctly, do the children want the purpose-built equipment, or do they want the slightly damp, rotting, mildewy box that it all came in?
It’s not as if Jack’s of an age that he can climb inside and pretend it’s a spaceship, castle or train.
He just clambers inside, sits there for about a quarter of a second and climbs out. And the starts the whole process again.
So now I’ve ended up with a load of kids’ toys in my garden that barely get looked at and a cardboard box that I can’t recycle, for fear of traumatising him by taking away his most favourite toy.
With his birthday rapidly closing in and the wife and I wondering what we can buy the little scamp, he seems to have made his preferences very clear.
Sadly, it’s the rest of the family that tends to frown and look down their noses a bit when we show them the crisp box we’ve acquired and gift-wrapped for his special day.