Imagination (HLD 324)

10 Feb 2021

Today was my day with my oldest grandson, and while he is now comfortably back at home with the rest of his family, Grandma is still recovering. She is comfortably on the couch with a cup of coffee and will move ahead to the red wine shortly.

He is at an age where he really enjoys his toys, and actually plays with them. You can see him creating stories in his head as he moves things around with his trucks or duplo, and he actually describes what the lump of play dough is – he was making a fire engine at some stage and it was a very detailed build. Looked like a lump of play dough, but it was a very detailed lump.

I have, stored neatly under my fortunately large coffee table, a plastic paddling pool full of duplo – larger size building blocks from the Lego family. When my kids were little, we had a large plastic tub of the stuff too, which got passed on through other branches of the family when my lot had graduated to the smaller Lego. Just out of interest, the pain inflicted by building blocks is very different. Treading on a piece of Lego is excruciatingly painful, but treading on a piece of duplo will invariably end up with a fall because it will slide taking your foot and 57 year old body with it.

Where was I? Duplo. Old vs new. The duplo my kids had was a collection of rectangular blocks of different sizes, some basic blocks with wheels that could be built into cars or trains, and people that were basically a very small square block with a head on it. Women duplo blocks were identifiable by having eyelashes, but that’s about it.

Duplo nowadays has sooooo many different permutations. There are policemen, firemen, farmers, scuba divers, crooks, pizza men…you name it. Even Batman, Robin and the Joker. The vehicles are amazing – Batmobiles, trucks, motorbikes, diggers, submarines and lots, lots, LOTS more.

My query would be – do the children get more out of playing with toys that are very specific, as opposed to general blocks that force them to use their imagination? Or does their imagination not get hung up with the fact that Batman possibly wouldn’t be in the submarine with the pizza delivery man?

I know that, as the 57yo Grandma, I think I prefer the modern duplo. MY imagination appreciates a little bit of assistance. I’m not sure about Batman and the pizza man, though.

I decided on the topic for today’s episode about six hours ago. To assist with the visual impact, I needed to simply get out of the toy collection the old style duplo person I know we still have and take a photo, so I could do a comparison between it and modern duplo people.

I hunted. I searched the duplo collection thoroughly. I checked every toy box, I checked under the cot. I checked under couches and under beds. I could not find the old style duplo person. Six hours later I simply searched for a photo of the type of thing I’m talking about. I could have saved myself a lot of angst by doing this earlier. You just know the damn thing will show up tomorrow, hopefully not under my feet.

I strongly suspect that the old style duplo person has met an untimely end, because having no legs, they can’t ride the duplo motorbike. Or maybe Batman just didn’t like them and sent them scuba diving without the special flippers that can attached to modern duplo feet.

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