KHickey
Wednesday 18th , 2018
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For my most recent birthday, I received a wonderful book called Toy Stories: Photos of Children from Around the World and Their Favorite Things by Gabriele Galimberti. It is a delightful book for so many reasons. First, as someone who has dedicated their career to the art and science of play, toys are often the best portal to engage in imaginative play. This book celebrates children, their toys, and play in a simple and thoughtful way. Secondly, I am intrigued with the toys children chose to share and what it may or may not say about their society, their family, and themselves.

As I reflected on the book eagerly turning the next page to see far and away locations like Alaska, Malaysia, Lebanon, Kenya, and Iceland I was struck by the thought that regardless of the type of toys, the location, the gender of the child, there is a common denominator in all of the photos: imagination.

Imagination is defined as the “Faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.” When we use our imaginations the left side of our brain is engaged. The left side of the brain controls things like special tasks, body control, music and artistic efforts, 3368 creativity, and awareness.

After reading and looking through the entire book, I most related to young Enea, age three, from Boulder, Colorado. Enea proudly displays his vast collection of musical instruments—some toys and most real—while he sports a pretty cool red cape. His instruments included a drum set, classical guitar, toy electric guitar, ukulele, bongos, a toy piano, and a two stringed gourd instrument of unknown origin. This struck a note with me (I couldn’t resist) because I am most able to use my imagination when I am playing my musical instruments. When I play, I lose track of time and find myself part of something universal. It is an extra treat when family and friends join in to make music together. I hope you find your joy as you find ways to engage your imagination. Stay hungry for play, my friends!

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Michael Shanklin, Chief Executive Officer, has been with Kidspace since August, 2011. He holds a MA in History and BA in Art. His museum experience has included positions with Discovery Gateway in Salt Lake City and the Omniplex Science Center in Oklahoma City. He returned to his native Los Angeles area following three years as the Executive Director at the Discovery Science Center in Tyler, Texas.