My children are big fans of small plastic figures. Everywhere I look there are dinosaurs, super-heroes, animals, and other tiny humanoids. These are great toys. I can remember playing in the backyard with my army men or my animals. These are the kinds of toys that aren’t meant to last, and that’s alright. They are easily available and usually inexpensive. They are almost designed to be melted, chopped up, painted to look like cyborgs, and launched into space on makeshift rockets. Sorry, Toy Story, but if I have to go through life thinking that toys are alive, and can talk to each other while I’m not looking, then I may as well put on a rainbow wig, paint myself purple, and wait for the people in the van to come and pick me up. Plastic toy figures are fun, but they are not sentient.
Now since they can’t talk, these toys are great for a kid’s imagination. If you’ve got a cow, a dinosaur, and a civil war era medic, then you’ve got to be pretty imaginative to explain why they’re all on the same hill.Here is some sample dialouge:
COW: I am bovatron-7 from the planet of cyborg cows! This is my pet dinosaur, Reggie, who I rescued from the no-kill animal shelter operated by the time patrol. What century is this? Are we too late to stop disco from being invented?
DINOSAUR: RRAWwwwrrggg! Me Reggie!!
CIVIL WAR ERA MEDIC: Hi, my name’s Theodore and I’ve lost my speedboat. Can you help me?
COW: Of course, Ted. We will help you find your boat. Right after we save the world from Professor Zebra.
DINOSAUR: RRAWwwwrrggg! Reggie eat zebra!
CIVIL WAR ERA MEDIC: Okay, let’s go.
I was a little disappointed to find that some of the mega-stores in my area didn’t really have any non-licensed toy figures. Almost all of the toys were related to a movie or television show. I don’t find anything wrong with the licensed toy figures, but I think there should be some generic toys out there at reasonable prices. I’ve posted an Amazon.com affiliate link that will show some items available online. Also, you might check out your local dollar stores for some of the smaller figures like green army men and barnyard animals. Yard sales are also a likely source for interesting finds. Go and get a sturdy plastic bin to keep all the toy figures from getting all over the place, and be sure and provide some good voices for the different figures when you’re playing with your kids.