As adults, most of us can still remember our favorite toy as a young child. Whether it was a hand-me-down doll with brown curls, a bright yellow Tonka truck, a bendy Gumby toy, a Cabbage Patch kid, an Erector set, or a train set, we can recall many happy afternoons spent playing with our favorite toys. Playing is an important part of childhood - for a child it is their "job". Many important concepts are learned during play. Whether it is learning basic science and math concepts (volumes, sizes, shapes, counting), trying out different roles through dramatic play, or sharing and working cooperatively with others, play provides a wealth of opportunities. Not to mention, we all know it's fun. Some of us can remember making a childhood vow that when we grew up we wouldn't stop playing!
A few of my favorite books for boys (or girls!) about playing are below:
Below by Nina Crews
This story follows the adventures of Jack and his action-figure, Guy. Jack and Guy play on the staircase - climbing mountains, exploring cities. Then one day Guy falls down and Jack must rescue him. Wonderful photographs illustrate this story.
Changes, Changes by Pat Hutchins
Two wooden doll figures arrange and rearrange blocks to make a variety of things - a castle, firetruck, boat, train and more. A wonderful, wordless story for the lover of blocks and imagination!
The Crimson Comet by Dean Morrissey
"When the light on the moon goes out, Nora and her brother Jack take a trip in their rocket to help the Man-on-the-Moon regain power." (Syndetics) This is a cozy bedtime story full of gorgeous paintings and imagination.
Golden Bear by Ruth Young
For younger children, Golden Bear, offers a sweet tribute to a toddler's best friend, his teddy bear. Rhyming text and soft illustrations make this a good "snuggle-up-and-share" read-aloud.
Harry and the Dinosaurs at the Museum by Ian Whybrow
"When his family goes to a museum so that big sister Sam can research human ancestors, young Harry wanders off while playing with his toy dinosaurs and becomes lost, but Gran knows just where to find him." (Syndetics) Perfect for sharing with a dinosaur fan, or anyone who has imagined their favorite toys coming to life!
Red Light, Green Light by Anastasia Suen
"A young boy creates an imaginary world filled with zooming cars, flashing traffic lights, and racing fire engines." (Syndetics) Sure to be enjoyed by toddlers, fans of transportation, and anyone looking for some imaginative play inspiration.
Traction Man is Here! by Mini Grey
Know a young fan of superheroes and action figures? Treat him to this book and he's sure to enjoy the fun and laughs.
"Traction Man, a boy's courageous action figure, has a variety of adventures with Scrubbing Brush and other objects in the house." (Syndetics)