I have to say that being in the business of creating children’s products has taught me a lot about people. I know that sounds strange but what I have learned is so interesting. I try to remember what it was like to be a child, I have memories of my childhood fort that we would run though every day and have great adventures. We would wade in the river and collect rocks. My fondest memories are of playing in a wooded area next to my house in South Carolina. It was a normal neighborhood but was full of woods and streams. We had a special rock that we would play on calling it our “fort.” If I had to describe it, it would be magical with all of the wonders of being in a world all our own. A place where our parents never entered. We would swing from vines and land in what was probably leaves with lots of creatures milling about, but we never worried about coming into contact with any of them. We never thought of any dangers, just the ones that the neighborhood kids might bring with them as we played war. Kids can pick up a stick and imagine it to be the most wonderful sword and leaves can magically become hats or armor…..
Skip ahead 28 years and I am in a new place. I still long for that imaginary world, and I always think that all people to whom I am selling my products can imagine what to do with them and that it wouldn’t take any explanation. Truthfully, it is adults who can not see or know how to lead their children on imaginary adventures. I recall one of my first trade shows where I met someone I look up to immensely, and she said to me that she had purchased lille huset for her daughter but that she didn’t know what to do with them. I have to tell you I was floored. It was at that moment that I knew I was selling products to adults, people who had lost their imaginations. Kids 99.9% of the time just start playing with our houses, with no explanation needed. They put baby to bed, they carry them around the house, creating a world in any room of the house, usually the one closest to you, and above all don’t care about scale or have boundaries on what they can and can’t do. Kids will willingly draw all over them creating wonderful stories about how their houses work. Kids don’t need more than a jumping off point for imaginary play and some just need a rock or a stick. I would challenge all adults to spend some time just daydreaming, look at a little house, hold it and watch as the light enters the tiny windows just wait and see where your imagination goes. It’s not to late to recapture what is seemingly lost!