I’ve had Tinkertoys on the mind lately. I don’t know why. I woke up one morning and there they were.
I played with Tinkertoys as a child. Quite a bit, actually. I especially liked to make things that kind of spun around, in that clunky Tinkertoy way. It was fun.
Just as I was wondering if kids still played with Tinkertoys, a 52-page catalogue of toys offered by Target popped out of my Sunday newspaper. I eagerly leafed through the catalogue. No Tinkertoys. I checked again, this time more slowly. Still no Tinkertoys.
I found plenty of Barbies, Bratz and Spidermen. Want a Pirates of the Caribbean boom box or a Whac-a-Mole Tower? You’re in luck. The catalogue also features a few construction-like toys, such as Legos and Lincoln Logs. I found no fewer than three build-it kits for roller coasters, ranging in price from $39.99 to $69.99. But no Tinkertoys.
Obviously, retailers would rather sell a boatload of those costly, high-tech roller coasters than those decidedly low-tech Tinkertoys that fired my imagination decades ago. Your imagination was really put to the test with Tinkertoy creations which were to reality as the constellation Ursa Major is to an actual bear. But isn’t that nourishing of the imagination a mark of a valuable toy?
What were the toys of your youth? What role did they play in your development into the fine person you are today? And what kind of toys do you buy for your kids and grandkids?
I remember graduating from Tinkertoys to the more intricate Erector Sets. They’re not in the Target catalogue, either.