Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Replicating your childhood for your children

When I was a child (don’t panic, I’m not about to get all nostalgic and go Joanna Lumley on you) I used to spend large parts of the school summer holidays on the coast.

My folks had a big static caravan that we would disappear to for adventures, sometimes lasting for weeks on end.

I really enjoyed being there, or certainly remember it that way.

And as well as those vague memories, I also have some more specific ones.

Generally we were outside in good weather, playing in the sea, cricket against the shed or bursting hardened cowpats with large stones.

When the weather turned to rain, we’d then huddle inside of one of the vans, drawing, playing games or – as I remember vividly – playing with my ‘caravan toys’.

There was never an exhaustive stock of options, guess that was down to space and the fact that generally toys weren’t needed all that often.

One of my favourites was a Lego garage set. Because, certainly in those days, Lego sets were much more about what other things you could create out of the bits you had.

Meaning that you'd be building a different thing every time you got it out.

My parents still have this set, it has outlived at least three different caravans that I can remember.

So, when I was offered, or we were offered, a Lego City Police Station this summer, I thought it would be nice to take this with us for my son to play with at his grandparents’ caravan.

Due to fine weather it stayed in its box for a long time. And because it is designed to be built in stages, it was a brilliant activity when the showers brought the children back inside.

It was built over a few days, and at one stage of the summer I counted six children, all boys between four and nine, playing with it together, or all role-playing around it.

The thing was a hit.

A big one.

Lego always is with us.

And this set now lives on the coast too.

I wonder if my grandchildren will be playing with both sets in the years to come.