This list of the five best toys ever is the best list of toys I have ever seen. J used to love all of them except the last one - dirt. She is yet to outgrow String and Box. Very reassuring to have an expert (the author) share a lay person's (myself) perspective on toys for children.
J's dance teacher has a four year old boy who I play with when we are there for her class- it keeps him occupied and out of the way of the dancers.The kid has a designated toy room with at least five hundred toys and yet he inevitably wants to play his favorite game that involves none of them. It takes a piece of cardboard, two dice and two plastic sticks. He can spend a good hour creating variations of games using just those things. I've asked him to show me how some of his toys in the toy room room work. He grudgingly agrees and wants us to go back to playing his game of board, dice and sticks.
It is as if he wants to escape the excess of toys by going back to basics - he could not get more minimal than that.The most J had was four of five toys and her favorite was the empty spool of thread strung with a bright red cord. She could spend a whole day with that thing and some utensils from from the kitchen to bang together and make noise with. She talked to herself, laughed at something only she knew was funny - she was as happy as could be in control of her world and doing as she pleased with it. Her attention span for a new toy was limited to under five minutes and once she had figured what it was about she never came back to it. I bet the dance teacher's son feels the same way about his toys - he has them all figured out and they mean nothing special to him anymore.
That is precisely the reason the list of five in this article are such a big hit with kids - there is an infinite number of ways to interpret them and introduce them to their imagine play. The objects are not meant to be figured out and forgotten, instead they are there to be molded by the child's imagination to become what they are innately not. Reading this article right after my Disney trip was most refreshing.