Two of my favorite childhood toys are now in the Toy Hall of Fame. On Thursday (10/6/08), the stick officially joined the cardboard box as Hall of Fame material.
Sticks are such a universal toy. One of the first things I would do as a kid on a camping trip was find the perfect stick. Then I’d play with it throughout the weekend. It transformed into all kinds of magical items from a sword to a machine gun or a walking stick; sometimes it might be a javelin or spear; other times it might become a super key that unlocked a treasure vault or a castle.
A stick is the perfect toy: Free! And you can turn it into mulch when you are finished playing with it – reducing the amount of waste in a landfill.
I remember one Christmas when my grandfather was overwhelmed by all the toys my sister, cousins, and I were opening. I heard him say (this is true) “When I was a child, we had sticks to play with – and we liked it.” All these years later and it finally dawns on me – he was right!
I’m happy to see that the stick is finally getting its due as a Hall of Fame toy.
Here are some excerpts from an article (if you would like to read more):
(click on the title to see the entire article)
By BEN DOBBIN (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
November 07, 2008 12:16 AM EST
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A magic wand, a fishing rod or a royal scepter?
The lowly stick, a universal plaything powered by a child’s imagination, landed in the National Toy Hall of Fame on Thursday along with the Baby Doll and the skateboard.
The three were chosen to join the Strong National Museum of Play’s lineup of 38 classics ranging from the bicycle, the kite and Mr. Potato Head to Crayola crayons, marbles and the Atari 2600 video game system.
Curators said the stick was a special addition in the spirit of a 2005 inductee, the cardboard box. They praised its all-purpose, no-cost, recreational qualities, noting its ability to serve either as raw material or an appendage transformed in myriad ways by a child’s creativity.
“It’s very open-ended, all-natural, the perfect price – there aren’t any rules or instructions for its use,” said Christopher Bensch, the museum’s curator of collections. “It can be a Wild West horse, a medieval knight’s sword, a boat on a stream or a slingshot with a rubber band. … No snowman is complete without a couple of stick arms, and every campfire needs a stick for toasting marshmallows.
“This toy is so fantastic that it’s not just for humans anymore. You can find otters, chimps and dogs – especially dogs – playing with it.”
Longevity is a key criterion for getting into the hall, which the museum acquired in 2002 from A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village in Salem, Ore. Each toy must not only be widely recognized and foster learning, creativity or discovery through play, but also endure in popularity over generations.