you haven’t heard, sand is a hall of famer.
Sand has a place in the hall of fame. In 2021, The Strong National
Museum of Play celebrated sand as one of its inductees to the
National Toy Hall of Fame.
be fair, it’s an honor long overdue. From boxes in the backyard
to castles on the beach, sand is one of the most amazing toy options
you’ll ever find.
is quite likely the original toy. Perhaps not. Maybe the original
toy was a stick, a stream, a rock, or some other incredible combination
of time, place, initiative and creativity. Or maybe someone saw
an apple on the ground and kicked it. The point being, sand has
been around since the early days and has plenty of ways to fall
into the definition of a toy.
me—and this essay—I don’t want to debate sand, or even dive much
further into it. Instead, I’m trying to connect with you on the
ideas of what are the best items when it comes to relaxation and
play. Not by brand or such specifics, but by general concept.
Does it have to be the greatest and most advanced video game system
available? Does it need to be purchased? Or… can it be a great
book, a tree, or three pennies and a flat surface for a game of
don’t believe fancy and formal and visiting a store is necessary.
I would contend that folding up a sheet of paper into a football,
sitting across from a friend, and then engaging in a contest with
no higher stakes than bragging rights for the afternoon is every
bit deserving of a place on the top of a list of great toys as
just about any other thing you could mention.
yes. Absolutely. Watching the development of the latest and greatest
technologies, especially as it advances how we learn and amuse
ourselves, is incredible. Some of the games that have spanned
generations are awesome. But to go back to that stick I mentioned
a couple of paragraphs ago… if it makes you smile and enjoy a
bit of time, maybe even creating bonds with a friend or two… what
is it that we actually expect from toys that could possibly be
much better than that? In fact…
about a tree? First, there’s that stick. Came from the tree. Then
there’s more. We can climb the tree. We can pile up the leaves
from it and jump in. We can use it as a base for a game of hide
some reason, I chuckle when I see technology come to a grinding
halt. Power goes out. Terry and I might turn on a transistor radio,
light a few candles and play some cards. But we see example after
example of folks going bonkers trying to keep tablets and phones
charged, and having all sorts of troubles with kids that don’t
understand why the WiFi is down. The funny part is playing cards
and listening to the latest news or some music while hearing stories
from friends sitting in their cars trying to charge their phones.
note offering a slight bit of support. Recently, two friends were
making fun of the GPS in my car. The joke was that I had a standalone
unit. Why couldn’t I catch up with the times and use my phone?
Well, as I reminded them, one had recently had troubles on a long
drive when their phone battery was exhausted and they didn’t have
a cord to recharge it. And, once the other was going through an
interesting stretch of merges, exit navigations and lane changes
in a city he wasn’t familiar with when someone called him and
his phone shifted from the GPS app to the call. I agree with them,
phones are great technology. But sometimes tools work because
they serve a specific function and nothing else. So, yeah, back
would be hard to imagine many things that could be considered
a toy with as lengthy a history as sand. And yet, there it is,
with as simple a foundation as you could ever create, providing
hours of amusement in an incredible variety of settings.
don’t see a lot of sandboxes in backyards any more. (I also don’t
recall the last time I drank from the hose.) And that’s a shame.
Because sometimes in order to appreciate and reach the greatest
of heights, you have to acknowledge and consider the foundation
upon which it was built.
who wants to grab a couple of buckets to help me fill the moat
around this castle?