Friday fluff: Take off your grownup hat

Someone gave me a very wise stress relief suggestion this week: get a big box of crayons and a coloring book and go to town. It was the absolute perfect idea for me — not only do I like coloring for letting me follow artistic impulses despite not even being able to draw a stick figure, but I also had a stretch of time in high school when my friends and I rediscovered crayons and coloring, so it satisfies a nostalgic itch too.

I had to dig in my craft drawer to find my sad little box of 24 crayons, but I fully intend to buy a 96-crayon box this weekend to get the full glory of burnt sienna and cadet blue. It’s funny — as an adult, I love lots of different crafts, but I forgot all about coloring because it’s so much more about the process than the finished picture (as opposed to, say, knitting something that becomes a garment or making stationery that later gets used for correspondence). Yes, I might have a psychedelic picture of Wallace & Gromit at the end of an hour, but what I really love is the action of coloring: picking up a crayon, reading the label, letting my hand wander over the page, building up layers and layers of color. I find it immensely satisfying in part because it’s purposeless, and as a grownup (and a grad student, for that matter) I spent so much energy being goal-oriented that it’s a great relief to do something just because I like to do it. Yesterday I spent an hour coloring and listening to music, and it was the most purely relaxing thing I’ve done in weeks.

The person who initially suggested picking up crayons to me wisely noted that there’s a lot of stuff that we think is “kids-only” that we don’t give ourselves permission to do unless we are actually around kids. Think of the trope of the dad buying a cool train set for his kids and then playing with it himself. When I was in high school, on sleepovers my friend and I would sometimes catch her dad sneaking in some Super Nintendo (which they bought “for the kids”) when he thought everyone else was asleep. There’s a lot of ideas about efficiency and purpose and productivity built into our cultural assumptions about adulthood, but that doesn’t mean we lose the impulses to goof off creatively — we just pretend we do because we’re afraid that if anyone catches us with a crayon or a model airplane, they’ll think we’re not really grownups after all.

So my fluff question for you is this: what did you do as a kid that you would secretly (or not so secretly) love to do again? If you’re a parent, what aspect of kids’ play do you most enjoy being part of? And of course, what’s your favorite Crayola color?

201 thoughts on “Friday fluff: Take off your grownup hat

  1. I dearly loved to play with these red plastic bricks: http://www.balmoralsoftware.com/apb/index.htm

    (Do click on the links to the maps!)

    If I still had these bricks I would probably still play with them today!

    And I loved to jump on a trampoline when I got the chance!

    Crayola colors — as soon as they came out with metallic colors, those were my favorites. But I loved the odd names like “burnt umber”. I thought it was cool that one color was “blue green” and another was “green blue”.

  2. I miss climbing trees. I grew up with my own private woods, essentially, and I have never been able to recapture the delicious solitude of getting a few hundred feet into the woods and 15 feet above the ground and just sitting and listening. It is unfortunately not possible to take this up again until I move out of this fucking city.

    And a costume trunk! I want a costume trunk again, and in fact have absolutely no excuse not to have one. I used to do costume design, dammit, and I so rarely use my mad stitching skills for myself, apart from alterations and the occasional garment. I haven’t made myself a costume in years and years. Hmmm. I needs me some Regency dresses, stat!

    And I always liked forest green and cerulean blue.

  3. Oh — those pictures of things you could make with the bricks — those were just suggestions and the bricks were like Legos — you would build something and take it apart and build something else. I used to mostly improvise. It was a little tricky to put in the windows and doors but they were very cool.

  4. Oooh, and for frame of reference, I’ll be 27 next month, and so stopped keeping up with the Crayolas around 14 years ago when I discovered watercolor pencils and oil pastels. Metallics?? How did I miss this trend? Why am I wanting some Lisa Frank shit right about now???

    I AM REGRESSING THANKS TO THIS BLOG.

  5. Wow, what a great idea. How come it never occurred to me that being an adult doesn’t preclude my ability to do things that were fun to me as a kid? I always wanted a trampoline, but my mom thought they were dangerous. I loved drawing, blocks, play-doh (homemade with food coloring!), and hide-and-go-seek.

  6. 96 hell. I have (somewhere) (unless it’s the one I left in the car and it melted) a 120-crayon box. That’s what you need. That’s apparently what I need too.

    Remember in college when we used to buy all the new exotic types of crayons, like pearlescent and smelly? And new improved smelly that kids won’t want to eat and that includes “dirt” and “pencil”?

  7. Oh man, tag. I didn’t like regular tag all that much because I’m a slow runner, but I loved flashlight tag. I’m pretty sure if I tried to play it today, I’d end up tripping and breaking an ankle or something. But man, it was fun.

    Crayola colors — as soon as they came out with metallic colors, those were my favorites. But I loved the odd names like “burnt umber”. I thought it was cool that one color was “blue green” and another was “green blue”.

    Oh, completely. In fact, I think the evocative names (and the very precise distinctions like blue green/green blue) of Crayola crayons are one of the contributing factors to my loving poetry. Seriously.

  8. Blowing bubbles (with bubble solution and a wand, that is, not with gum). Which actually falls into the category of “things I still do because you’re not really an adult until you feel like one, right?” Also on that list is rereading just about every book I loved before the age of thirteen.

    One thing I would love to still do is bounce on a moonwalk (aka moonbounce–not sure why I grew up calling them moonwalks, but such is language). Unfortunately, most of the ones you encounter at fairs and whatnot have age limits, probably for the good reason that they don’t want adults breaking their moonwalks, and a weight limit would just suck. But one of these days I’m going to find an all-ages moonwalk and really go to town!

  9. I adore play dough and crayons and used to “play” all the time in college (I could seriously use the stress relief right now). And hubby and I watch kids’ movies all the time (they’re fun and stress-free).

  10. When we manage to have a family meeting (which for us includes compliments, agenda items, snack, and activity) one of my favorite things to do is play kitchen hockey. Where the sticks are brooms or umbrellas or whatever we find around, and the puck is a large plush ball, and the goals are chairs. FUN FOR ALL AGES!

    Sometimes I feel like a bad parent because my oldest is really into building and puzzles and stuff, and I have some mild difficulties with visuo-spatial processing, so I don’t really enjoy those things. But then I sing a silly song or have a tickle fight and remember that there’s more than one way to have fun with a kid.

    Oh, and ditto a thousand times on the metallic crayons! Those are amazing.

  11. And new improved smelly that kids won’t want to eat and that includes “dirt” and “pencil”?

    I had forgotten about that!!! Remember “new car”? What the hell do kids know about “new car” smell? I did find some of these (but metallic) in my craft box, which I’m pretty sure are from a care package you sent.

    Okay, clearly I am behind the times. 96 was my dream Crayola box, but now I can aim higher.

  12. That’s it, I am totally buying the 120 crayon box for myself (oh, okay, and one for my preschooler) when I get back from my conference this weekend!

  13. Hey, is there any possibility at all that controversy could erupt on this post? I wouldn’t think so, but we in the commentariat have been touchy lately, myself included. It’s intriguing to imagine big shitstorms about crayon colors.

  14. Jenny1144, a couple years ago a friend of mine rented a bouncy castle for a graduation party, and it was SO MUCH FUN. There were kids at the party, too, so we kinda did an alternating kids/adult swim thing so that we didn’t clobber the youngsters with our bouncing. I don’t have any sense of how much it cost to rent, but the party hosts asked everybody to contribute $10 to the cost, which was totally worth it.

  15. I got your controversy right here! From Wikipedia:

    Colors have been renamed through the years. In 1958, Prussian Blue was renamed Midnight Blue. The color known as Flesh was renamed Peach in 1962, partially in response to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Indian Red was renamed Chestnut in 1999 due to concern that some children thought the crayon color represented the skin color of Native Americans. According to the company, however, the name originally referred to a reddish-brown pigment from India that is used in artists’ oil paint. In the past, some crayons have been temporarily renamed, such as the 2004 State-Your-Color Contest crayons and the 8 Kids’ Choice Colors in the 2008 50th anniversary 64-count box.

  16. Hm. There’s pretty much nothing I did as a kid that I “don’t allow” myself to do as an adult.

    I was kept pretty sheltered as a kid, my mom banned wrestling, Dungeons & Dragons, war games and toys, and comic books from the house. Now– well, I describe myself as a 12 year old boy with disposable income.

    Seriously, having your teenage rebellion when you have the money to do things like buy 50 comic books and an action figure of Jean-Luc Picard when you get the whim? It’s totally awesome.

  17. Oh god, bouncy castles are the best. THE. BEST. One of my favorite parts of my dear departed and deeply-mourned Enchanted Forest.

    I think my favorite crayon color might be periwinkle. When I was a kid, sky blue was in huge demand, so it was de rigeur to take the paper off periwinkle and try to pass it off as sky blue. Somewhere along the line I started liking periwinkle better.

    Ooh… it may have been supplanted by cerulean, though. Now that’s a crayon.

    There was recently a Lego freakout in my living room… a friend found out that Dan has tons of Legos, most of which are at his mom’s house in huge bins. He brought out what he has, and they spent like an hour pawing delightedly through them and making weird motorized things (we mostly have the motorized Legos at home, the minifigs and a lot of the building blocks are elsewhere).

  18. When I visit my brother M., we still play Legos a lot. He always makes buildings with elevators and shit while I make little houses and find hats for the people. Good times.

  19. My favorite Crayola color, orange red, was retired in 1990.

    I really miss jumping on a trampoline and doing tricks on the balance beam-like bump of cement between my house and the neighbor’s house.

    I do occasionally still blow bubbles, dance around with a super-long ribbon, and twirl stuff.

    I don’t have kids of my own, but I love going to the zoo with my friends and their kids.

  20. I get kids meals a lot (yes for the toys). I collect Hello Kitty. My DS is like my favorite entertainment. I still get out my Pogs every so often.

  21. I want a giant playground with grownup sized swings, slides, climbing domes, and those twirly-go-rounds you push with your feet. Plus, a castle shaped climbing structure.

  22. New car smell: my sister *hated* it when my dad got new cars when we were kids. New car smell would give her headaches.

    I’ve not tried crayons in ages, but I love stationery. I bought a pack of 20 different colours of gel ink pens the other day, including glittery ones.

    But as for not being a grown up, someone said something to me this week which went roughly: we *are* grownups, and that means *we* get to decide what that means for us. And in my case last weekend meant going for a walk in a nature reserve to find an obelisk, and then going and playing on the swings and seesaw and climbing bars at the park. Brilliant. Even if Mike did lose the house keys and have to go back and look for them because they’d fallen out of his pocket while he was hanging upside down.

  23. I love bouncy everything, really. This post is all kinds of timely, because the mini trampoline I ordered online just came yesterday, and thus I bounced my ass off last night.

    And a strategy for getting into the bouncy castles: find one being run by an indifferent teenage boy at a church festival, wait until there are no kids in line, and inform him that you and your friends bought tickets and would like to jump please. Yes, this is from experience. :)

  24. compliments, agenda items, snack, and activity

    Why can’t meetings at work be like that? Hell, I’d settle for an agenda half the time.

    When I worked at a day care, my favorite thing to do “with the kids” was cutting pictures out of magazines–I’ll pick that up now once in a while when I’m stressed!

    I also think cooking and washing dishes can provide a similar sort of creative, goal-directed-but-not-doing-something-that-serious (because you’re gonna eat it) brain wave for me. I mean, anyone remember water tables? Now we have sinks! Too bad I wasn’t more into vacuuming and sweeping as a kid.

  25. I still do most of the stuff that I used to do as a kid to entertain myself. I still play with my action figures, I have a HUGE collection of colored pencils, markers and crayons for coloring, I collect stickers. About the only thing I don’t do anymore is climb trees, mostly out of worry for the structural integrity of the trees. Although if I can find a good sturdy tree with low enough branches, all bets are off.

    My favorite Crayola color? Toss up between Violet Purple and Cadet Blue, although Burnt Sienna is still in the running.

  26. Lately, I’ve been remembering papier-mache sculpture — the kind I made as a kid with newspaper and runny flour paste. It was wonderfully messy, and I’d love to play with it again.

  27. favorite crayola color is either straight up RED or goldenrod – my bedroom is painted something very similar to goldenrod, a gorgeous rich yellow.

    i’m one of the lucky few, known as weirdos, who never gave up my childhood loves. i may not have time to just run around much and do “silly” things, but i have no qualms about doing them. i still love turning the music up and dancing crazy, or just going out to the park and digging around in the dirt to see what cool rocks i can find to throw in the water.

  28. The quote upthread – “We’re grownups now, and it’s our turn to decide what that means.” – came from this comic!

    Grownups.

    It’s delightfully on-topic and too cute not to share. :)

  29. Oh Crayola… Tickle Me Pink and Macaroni and Cheese were my favorites–probably just because of the names, not because I particularly liked pink and orange. Cerulean is still one of my favorite words; I was convinced that they made it up and I was like “wtf is a cerulean?!?”. Also, Cornflower Blue.

  30. This whole thread is actually reminding me about what a shock it was to me when I met Mr Machine, who is an avid gamer (as are several of his close friends). Because I had an NES when I was 10 or so, and because none of my friends played video games in college, I think I just assumed there was this sort of rule like “Once you can vote, you may not play video games.” It was truly a revelation to me that grown people thought it was okay to spend all day playing games if you wanted to.

  31. I’m 42 and I still love the sight of a new box of crayons. I love to color! Forest green is my favorite. I like the new metallic colors too.

  32. I forgot about shocking pink, omg. It was so.. shocking.

    Also, freeze tag and kickball were two of my faves even though I was the slow fat girl.

  33. The University of Michigan hospital recently published a coloring book for adults who have to wait in the waiting rooms. (This doesn’t mean unacceptable waits: many non-patients accompany patients who are in treatment programs.)

    The pictures, some quite sophisticated, are all by local artists whose work has been on display at the hospital. The “Gifts of Art” program gives away the coloring book with a small box of crayons. So I guess lots of people are on the same wavelength.

  34. My mother refuses to buy me Legos when I ask for them for Christmas.

    But, like I said before, I’m a 12-year-old boy with a 29-year-old single woman’s disposable income. I have a Lego TIE fighter hanging over my bed. :D

  35. I can honestly say that I do whatever I want to do still, kid-oriented or not. I’ve always been very creative and I’ve never given up my love to just finger paint or color with crayons. I guess it helps that I babysit a bunch of awesome kids who have big imaginations, so I’m pretty used to recessing back to that simple happiness of just playing with some amazing colors.
    I still love to read children’s books, including anything by Dr. Seuss (Bartholomew and the Ooblek is still on my bookshelf) and Shel Silverstein (I want to get a tattoo of the giving tree).
    I color all the time.
    Finger-painting is a seriously amazing stress reliever, too, if you like coloring. Just grab some of those economy sized bottles of acrylic paint in your average rainbow colors and go to down.
    Go sit in the grass in the backyard and look at bugs or worms. My personal favorite has to be playing in the sand. I live at the shore, so I can just walk a few blocks to the ocean and go play in the sand. (Collecting shells is a good thing, too.)

  36. I blow bubbles a lot!

    Also, Mr. Shrew and I like to have Kid’s Night a couple of times per month, when we eat things like fish sticks and mac & cheese. We usually try to watch a “kids” movie too, though that doesn’t always happen. I think we should reintroduce coloring. And, no, we don’t have actual kids. Once we do, the definition of Kid’s Night might change. Or not. LOL

    I do have a suggestion for the crayons, though, if you have adult guilt over it. You can do a crayon dyeing process on white fabric and then embroider or quilt over it, and create adult crafts from childish activities! Try tracing your coloring page in pencil on some white linen, color in with crayons, and then use an iron to melt the wax, setting the color into the fabric.

    Link: http://curiosities808.wordpress.com/tutorials/technique-tutorial-embroidery-tools-crayons-tinting-fabric-with-crayons/

  37. I miss legos and blocks. My best friends have a set of colored numbered blocks for their kids and one day I just sat down next to them and started building and organizing and color-coordinating. It was very relaxing and satisfying. I always loved playing with blocks and things.

  38. I so love to color! And I always forget how much I love it until I see my kids coloring and decide to just stop whatever it is that I Have To Get Done Right Now and just sit with them to color. Bonus: They think it’s hilarious that mom colors. Even more bonus: It’s time with my kids.

    I can also appreciate getting out the bubbles in the summertime with my girls. Most of the time I just sit back and tan my face while they run around with the bubbles but I think I will make more of a conscious effort this summer to get out there with them. It’s fun and giggly.

  39. I was personally a huge fan of that crayon sharpener on the backs of some of the big boxes… I would sit there and sharpen all of the crayons.

    And a story in response to Sweet Machine’s color controversy: I used to work over the summer at a camp for urban kids from different minority groups. It was a blast because I always had sixth and seventh graders, and they cracked me up. One summer, we took the kids to the Crayola Factory (in Pennsylvania — what a blast! Cheap crayons galore!) They have a huge timeline of Crayola history across the walls, mostly about the history of the colors. One of signs marked, “Flesh was re-named Peach in recognition of the fact that not everyone has the same skin tone” (or something like that). One of the kids, after reading the sign, turned to me and asked loudly, “OHMYGOD, Crayola was racist?” An elderly gentlemen ahead of us turned around and frowned, and two of the employees looked a little scared. I almost died laughing. The kids then proceeded to try to figure out whose skin was closest to which crayon color, and called each other names, and got paint everywhere, and drew sexually explicit images on the projector, and generally caused mayhem. I think the Factory people were happy when we left. They taught me a lot about dealing with racism. And a lot about Mario Kart and Zelda.

  40. I was marked by the 96-color box at an early age.
    There was a sharpener, you see.

    So if you were very careful with your shavings, you could, with adult supervision, sprinkle them on tinfoil, melt them in the oven to make stained glass patterns, and feel when it came out that you had created your own Sistine Chapel.

    (Unless, of course, the ochre ran into the burnt orange, ruining everything.)

    Sky blue and copper FTW, baby. You could do a whole sky with those.

    *loses herself in nostalgia*

  41. RE: Bouncy castles

    They were my favorite thing in the entire universe as a child and the day I got too tall to use the one at my local amusement park was devastating.

    My husband rented me one for my birthday when we were dating. Whenever I get mad at him I remember the castle and drift off to a happy place.

    Also, I loved Red Rover and red light green light.

  42. Hands down, playing dress up and “let’s pretend”. Sadly, thinking about doing that as an adult feels creepy, but I remember games of “let’s pretend” with my friends that spun on for weeks, that were so intricate and fraught with challenges, and were so satisfying. Yes, a big trunk of dress up clothes, with yards of silky, satiny, flowing material, and wigs! That would be so much fun…

  43. I’m a 28-year-old, card-carrying ubergeek. This means that I’m permanently stuck somewhere between late adolescence and early adulthood for the rest of my life. If I had my way, I’d own a Wii, a PS2, and the best DDR pad money could buy. (I was apparently in the “Rack of Doom” sign-up line when they were handing out rhythm.) Then I’d spend the rest of my time playing 3rd Ed. D&D and watching anime.

    Meanwhile, my inner child likes cartoons, drawing, and watching shows within her age group(which is around 8-10). She loves cereal and wearing outfits that make no sense. She also still thinks boys are icky, and that She-Ra is a bazillion times better than He-Man. :-P

    I always thought that basic color theory should be taught using crayons, even with college students. Everyone gets the biggest box of Crayolas available and they have to arrange/sort them accordingly.

  44. Dollhouses. One of my retirement plans is to build the Dollhouse of Awesome and buy/make furniture for it. Growing up, my favorite cousin and I made people out of the old-school clothespins that are a round head, short body and two legs, and we eventually added jointed arms and made intricate clothes and had weddings and births and rafting trips and all sorts of adventures for them right up through high school. I still have my clothespin people and their accoutrements packed carefully away in the basement, waiting for me to stop wasting my time on this pesky earning a living thing. Miniature stuff, so terrifcally cool

    Favorite crayola colors were the blue-green to green-blue… the box with the sharpener bult into the back was also a brilliant idea, do they still make that?

  45. it’s a really nice day, and all i want to do right now is play red rover.

    It’s a really shitty day here, and I want to get all my comic books (er, graphic novels), a big quilt and a pot of tea and hang out on the bed all day. I never do that any more.

  46. I just want to get this on the table right now: Sweet Machine and I also both have a LOT of stuffed animals. A LOT.

  47. I miss building blanket forts. I still read comic books and own (and sleep with, and talk to) stuffed animals, and I still watch cartoons (anime, Avatar, and old-school Transformers FTW), but blanket forts are the one thing I really do miss about being a kid.

  48. I made people out of the old-school clothespins that are a round head, short body and two legs, and we eventually added jointed arms and made intricate clothes and had weddings and births and rafting trips and all sorts of adventures for them right up through high school.

    OMG! I had a craft book with directions on how to make these as a kid, but nobody had the right kind of clothespins. We had the plastic ones that look like bobby pins. Dang.

  49. RE: Bouncy castles

    They were my favorite thing in the entire universe as a child and the day I got too tall to use the one at my local amusement park was devastating.

    My husband rented me one for my birthday when we were dating. Whenever I get mad at him I remember the castle and drift off to a happy place.

    Also, I loved Red Rover and red light green light.

    You might be my childhood games twin. I adored red light green light and Red Rover and bouncy castles WERE the best till I too got too tall for them. I shot up like a weed too so while for my friends getting too tall meant getting to the third grade abouts where you weren’t as scared to do other things at the theme park and here I was a too tall 6 year old for most of the kid things but definitely still too afraid of most rides to do much else. Sigh. Still, bouncy castles were freaking awesome while they lasted.

    My alma matter used to do a thing called Volleyrock every year where you’d sign up teams, each team member would pay something like ten dollars and you’d get a free t-shirt out of it and the chance to win some prizes if your team placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd. You also got a free rock concert out of the deal (hence the rock part of Volleyrock). It was fun even if you never were on a really great team (which I only was once), you could laugh at the teams who’d show up drunk, and they’d have all kinds of other things to do for a dollar or so and all the proceeds would go to local charities. Well, my senior year they had a bouncy obstacle course and OH. MY. GAWD was it ever fun. If I graduate from grad school on time I’m throwing a party and getting one of THOSE.

    Also, hide and seek was always fun and so was sardines (it’s sorta like backwards hide and seek for anyone who’s curious).

    Favorite crayon color is, was and always will be sea green.

    MAN, I miss being a kid.

  50. Omg, I absolutely must have that telescoping tower of color. MUST. Thanks for the link A Sarah.

    Coloring was one of my favorites things as a child, and I’ve actually been jonesing for it recently. But I never thought to just buy a box and go to town. Which is weird, because other things that people are supposedly not supposed to do after growing up (like playing video games, watching cartoons, and reading comics) are my main past times.

    One thing that immediately came to mind was those huge playpens filled with little balls (like in that one xkcd comic). Man, they should make large people sized ones.

    I’ve always longed to go in one of those bouncy castle-y thingies, but always figured I was too fat. Even as a child. I would watch jealously while the thinner kids bounced their hearts out. :(

  51. I was a very stereotypical girly-girl when I was little, so having a son who is into all sort of stereotypically boyish things is fun because I get to try things I never did when I was a kid. One thing I’ve learned I love doing is hunting for and watching bugs and worms. My son and I can spend half an hour watching a bee fly between flowers, or an hour digging in the garden and watching the earthworms. It’s also made me a less squeamish person!

  52. “I was kept pretty sheltered as a kid, my mom banned wrestling, Dungeons & Dragons, war games and toys, and comic books from the house. Now– well, I describe myself as a 12 year old boy with disposable income.”
    I don’t quite fit the bill of 12 year old boy, but there are so many things I buy now that mom never would, like movies from the 80s that we were never allowed to watch, like Ghostbusters. Yes, my mom was incredibly strict.

    …”so it was de rigeur to take the paper off periwinkle and try to pass it off as sky blue.”

    And, this reminds me of how anal I was as a child, because I hated when the tip would get dull on the crayon, and then even more hate when people would start ripping off the label for more crayon to color with! That’s why I loved when my mom finally got me the box with the sharpener on the back. At least it was organized removing of the label…….god I have issues.

    And, my regression to childhood has been gameboy. Last year, I bought a whole bunch of games on ebay and played them for hours when they came in.

    Favorite color is that deep maroon. And, SM thanks for this thread…very awesome idea!

  53. Does anyone else remember the episode of Reading Rainbow where they visit the crayon factory? Man, during grad school, my fellow grad students and I all remembered that specific episode. I love Levar Burton for both Reading Rainbow and Star Trek-related reasons.

    My favorite “kid” activity is bouncing on trampolines. There’s a place in Santa Clara, CA, Sky High Sports, that is wall to wall trampolines. You pay $9 and get to jump for an hour. They’ve also got a location in Sacramento, and one in Seattle opening soon.

    Props to everyone upthread who linked that one xkcd comic. Here’s links to Randall Munroe’s blog (blag) where he talks about how he actually built a ballpen in his apartment: Part 1, Part 2.

  54. A few weeks ago, my friends and I got together for a movie night. We rented a shitton of scary movies, bought more junk food than we could ever have consumed, and stayed up late getting creeped out by the movies (and stomachaches from the candy). I remembered that when I was a kid, I thought that’s what grownups did all the time, after we were in bed. Drink beer, watch rated-R movies, eat junk food.

    That said, my favorite activity as a little girl was reading. I’d get so deep into a book that my mother would literally have to shake my shoulder to get my attention. It’s sad to me that I *very, very* rarely have a reading experience like that anymore. I think it’s the result of learning literary criticism in college. When I was younger, 8 or 9, almost ANY book was reason to stay up late and read with a flashlight. Now, I feel lucky if I find a book once a year that I “can’t put down.”

    Also, silly putty.

  55. One of the great things about adulthood is that I get to do kid-things that I didn’t get to do as a kid. My sister was “the artsy one,” and this got me into the vicious circle of not being “good at art” because nobody bothered to teach me anything because I wasn’t “good at art” and eventually I stopped trying.

    When I hit 30 and a girlfriend finally convinced me that I didn’t have some built-in suck-at-art gene, I took a drawing class. One member of my family of origin asked, “Why are you taking a drawing class? You can’t draw!” Um, duh?

    And my D&D group (started nearly ten years ago, and still gaming every week) is half women, and I don’t have to listen to anybody complaining that girls aren’t supposed to be into D&D.

  56. @Sniper, I would love to see directions for making clothespin dolls. For us it was “pick up clothespin, pick up Sharpie marker, draw two eyes on front of head and some lines at neck and ankles so they’re not nekkid”. Originally the women just had a piece of cloth wrapped around the middle and held on with a rubber band. The whole scene gradually increased in sophistication as we grew from age 10 to age 18… but it was amazing how much expression two little dots for eyes could convey. We actually broke into our local church late one night and married two of them formally – only to be stopped by the police on our way home with our pockets bulging with the wedding party and a highly suspicious cop wondering if we had drugs stashed on our persons. No sir, just some clothespins… not the first time I nearly pissed myself having hysterics with that particular cousin, who remains my favorite person in the world to this day.

  57. When I was a kid, we had all the Fisher-Price Little People sets and made towns with them. Now that I have a baby, I’ve already speculatively bought the 50th anniversary Little People Farm Set ‘for when he’s old enough’.

    By the way, Cray-Pas are even cooler than crayons. :)

  58. fillyjonk, I was gonna say periwinkle, too. I still love that color. I was also fond of cornflower and salmon.

    I am a huge coloring fan. Every now and then, I look back through my beloved coloring books. Anyone remember the Animal Crackers (not the food) characters? I had an awesome coloring book of theirs. I browse the coloring books at every bookstore. My current crayons and coloring books sit out on a shelf in my home office. I’ll never part with them.

  59. @Prof: That episode of Reading Rainbow was SO PRETTY.

    @Ostara: I’m trying to imagine reverse hide and seek, but I’m failing dreadfully. How does it work? First you seek and then you hide? One person hides and everyone else seeks? People stand out in the open and you try *not* to see them? Please enlighten!

  60. Other adults who like to play! :D Have I mentioned lately how awesome this place is?

    Bouncy castles and trampolines FTW, all the way. I rarely got to play on them as a kid, but I loved the sensation of flying when I got the chance. Mom was always afraid that I’d sprain something because I’m double-jointed throughout my body and I have hypotonia (abnormally low muscle tone). This combo makes it really easy for things like shoulders and hips to pop out of joint.

    I actually prefer colored pencils to crayons. >.> Once I discovered Prismacolors as a kid, the Crayolas were abandoned. I think it’s because I don’t like the feeling of wax on the page. Every now and then my mom and I break out the huge “Artist’s” size box of colored pencils and our stash of coloring books and have great fun while listening to the TV.

    Favorite toys… well, I’m going to lose huge amounts of feminist cred for this, but I still want My Little Ponies and Barbies. Yes, the Evil B. herself. I loved the costumes, the fabrics, the colors and shiny things and sparkly things. If my sister and I couldn’t find appropriate Barbie clothes for a given story in our stash, we made them! I seem to recall a team of super-Barbies that were especially hard to clothe. And My Little Ponies were made of win and awesome and durable, easily-washed vinyl. Ponies could go have adventures in the backyard, or in the pool, or traveling! I was so thrilled when they started making My Little Ponies again.

  61. Rockband, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Legos. My son is 14 and sometimes we still break out the legos and see who can make the coolest spaceship. And we play Rockband together like once a week.

  62. Speaking of stuffed animals, my hubby got a stuffed Halitosis giant microbe; and is also taking medicine which makes him talk in his sleep. He calls the microbe Hal for short, and it was very entertaining to hear him explaining to Hal in his sleep that while you could theoretically make a computer from bacteria (Hal got off a spaceship, he was told not to lock the door again), that you couldn’t make a computer from stuffed microbes because:

    1. It would be too big
    2. Stuffed microbes aren’t conductive
    3. Hal didn’t know how to count

    Then he tried to teach Hal to count by singing:

    One little, two little, three little microbes
    Four little, five little, six little microbes….

    Then he unfortunately went silent. It was very amusing.

  63. We actually broke into our local church late one night and married two of them formally – only to be stopped by the police on our way home with our pockets bulging with the wedding party and a highly suspicious cop wondering if we had drugs stashed on our persons.

    This is fantastic!

  64. Also, there was a lot of very bad choreography. To very good music.

    Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, George Clinton & his PFunk All Stars, and the entire population of Minneapolis that Prince ever put before a mic spring to mind.

  65. Playing with beanie babies! Hell, I played with them till I was around 16. All 200 or so beanies had distinct personalities. For instance, Rover the red dog liked fire, and Didley the green dog was radioactive, and I had a lemur beanie that would cry every time someone turned on a light or the TV (some personalities were based on things I knew about those animals, just taken to silly extremes :P). I also gave them voices based on what I thought they should sound like if they talked. Though I only had a stock of 4-9 different voices to use for them all. :P

    In elementary school all the smaller kids loved me for it. And my dad and I would amuse ourselves by having the beanies converse with each other and so on.

    I also loved coloring, and once won a class coloring contest, which was fun. Crayons and colored pencils, though, please. Markers are annoying. :D

  66. I love blowing bubbles and swings and trampolines. And reading picture books. Though now that I’m in school to be a children’s librarian, I get to check out *all the picture books I want* and read them to my boyfriend and I can even call it “professional development” :-D

  67. Oh! A recent discovery: Squishables! http://www.squishable.com/ They’re cute and fat and fuzzy and fabulous. I agonized over buying the squishy kitty for myself. It’s a stuffed animal, I shouldn’t be buying myself stuffed animals at this age. I should wait until my birthday (in August), despite the risk that the kitties will sell out or my loved ones will decide to get me something else. $38 for a stuffed cat? Crazy talk, you should be virtuous and save that money!

    Then I decided that fuck it, I AM an adult now, and part of that is the freedom to buy a giant round stuffed cat if that’s what I want to do. And I did.

    His name is Marshmallow (white, round, soft, fluffy…) and he has the power to brighten a crappy day with a single hug. :)

  68. Oh yeah, I like salmon, it covers well. So does red-orange. I like the strongly pigmented crayons and was always really annoyed at weaksauce cornflower.

  69. You’ve just inspired me to pull my rainbow-coloured slinky out of my desk drawer here at work.

    Tonight, I’ll probably pull the bottle of bubbles out from under my kitchen sink.

    Tomorrow, I may seek out my pencil crayons. (Thanks, Sweet Machine, for the link to the Wallace and Gromit colouring pages!)

    Life is good.

  70. Hands down, playing dress up and “let’s pretend”. Sadly, thinking about doing that as an adult feels creepy
    As a trained actress, I’m not quite sure how to react to this ;-)

    And I love to color. Got to contribute to the colored pencil love, because they work so much better with my more grown-up coloring books (I just have to pick up the terrific coloring books at museums I visit).

  71. Exactly, fj! The actual color was great. The strength of it, not so much.

    Also I remember being really confused as a kid, thinking, “Salmon are grey, not pink! THIS MAKES NO SENSE.”

  72. My family is a big bunch of goofballs – especially my dad – so we do kid stuff like swinging and such when we have time. But, there are things that we don’t do that I miss, jump roping and hula hooping in particular. And, the reason why I abandoned them is not that they’re associated with kids, but that they’re associated with girls, and girl things are considered particularly frivolous. It seems kind of silly to let that hold me back, but there you go.

  73. I love being a mom for lots of reasons but one of the best things is getting to introduce your kids to the games, movies, books, etc. that you loved as a kid and getting to take part in that stuff again. (not that a person couldn’t , but you know what I mean) Playing kickball, watching old Disney movies…I’ve reread a bunch of great books that I really enjoyed when I was younger. Stuff that I would look totally ridiculous doing as an adult, alone-I always loved doing flips and handstands under water at the swimming pool-I can do with the kids. It’s great!

  74. A local craft and hobby shop is going out of business (boo!) but I just stopped by there the other day and bought out his remaining supply of balsa wood airplane gliders. Happy times in the backyard this weekend!

  75. Choreographing amazing dance routines with my sister (which usually also involved lip-synching), and making construction paper “tickets” to “Our Show.”

    Flying kites in a big open field, then laying around finding shapes in the clouds. (Sidebar: we’re p.k.s, and grew up very immersed in Christian theology. Whenever the sun’s rays poured through breaks in the clouds, we’d say “it looks like Jesus is coming back!”)

    Acting out whatever movie we were obsessed with at the time (Annie, Pollyanna, Space Camp, Ewoks, The Frog Prince – starring Aileen Quinn and Helen Hunt!, Alice in Wonderland – the tv version with Ringo Starr, Scott Baio, etc.)

    Oh and, pretty much dressing every day to look as much like Punky Brewster as possible. Multi-colored high top tennis shoes – how I miss you!

    I remember spending time to create a color sheet for all the crayons – drawing little squares and printing the name beneath the color. I was fascinated by the subtleties in green-blue and blue-green, red-orange and orange-red, etc. I think Crayola contributed to my color naming addiction – in junior high I’d spend hours reading the names on every shade of nail polish, lipstick, etc. (Okay, I still do. There’s such a difference between wearing creamy white called “First Snowfall” or soft creme called “French Kiss.”)

  76. Couldn’t resist posting again – I forgot about the HOURS on end in the water… Playing mermaid and flipping my hair around, seeing how many somersaults and backwards somersaults I could do in a row, rating our handstands (your toes weren’t pointed!), egg drops and flips, diving for rings… So much more fun than just floating around or swimming laps! (Though I still love those too.)

  77. My son is almost 2-and-a-half. He has no interest in coloring, but he LOVES dumping the crayons out of the box and then putting them back in. When he indulges in this activity, I sit next to him and color in his coloring book. We both win! But I never, never, never thought to do that before he came along. It’s a shame, because the activity is really very soothing.

    My husband – an engineer and the least “artsy” person I’ve ever met in my life – has recently taken up learning to draw just for fun. I can see that this activity is hugely beneficial for him. It gets him looking at something other than a screen, first of all (as a certified geek, his entertainment choices have always been computer-based). But more importantly, it engages a part of his brain that he just doesn’t use otherwise because it isn’t relevant to his job or his chores or his marriage or any of that “adult” stuff. The activity is entirely frivolous in that it doesn’t help him meet any concrete goal, but it allows him a little bit of freedom. And that’s the best part of being a kid, definitely – the feeling that you do things because you want to do them, and there is just no other reason to consider.

  78. Not too long ago I was seized by the impulse to color again, so I bought some color pencils (I prefer them to crayons) and a couple of Dover coloring books. The Celtic patterns and the Mandalas are my favorite one – they satisfy the art historian AND the kid in me.

  79. This doesn’t quite answer the question, but lately I’ve been decorating cookies like I used to do as a kid. A friend of mine got me fetus cookie cutters for my birthday (and no, I really don’t want to get into a discussion of whether or not it’s in poor taste here; apologies if you think it’s offensive) so I’ve been baking rolled sugar cookies! I made a batch of spring themed critter ones, too–frogs, snails, butterflies, and ladybugs. I made royal icing (in 8 colors!) and topped them with colored sugars and dragees and pearl dust. SO MUCH FUN. I dig arts and crafts, especially ones with edible results.

  80. Great topic!

    Favorite crayola color: midnight blue! It is the bluest ever. Love the Wallace and Gromit pages. I’ll be printing them out.

    I like to make collages, mostly from magazine pictures, sometimes with other ephemera that I have collected… playing cards, postcards, feathers, coins, glitter, etc. It’s fun to do little ones on the back of playing cards. I can spend hours cutting and gluing and so forth. It’s incredibly relaxing.

    guess I know what I need to do this weekend :-)

  81. liberalandproud-thank you. I was going to ask exactly what else community theater counts as? also, various types of Live action role playing that I’ve done were totally an excuse to dress up and play pretend-what’s creepy about that?
    I was never that big into coloring, but I do have some paints that I love and use. why is that different? Heck if I know.

  82. The periwinkle crayon was always my favorite. I even had a dress that color and when I referred to my “periwinkle dress” my mother said I was making that word up. I went straight to the crayolas to prover her wrong.

    I think I just may do some coloring this weekend.

  83. One of the best parts of being a parent is getting down on the floor and playing with my daughter. She was way into Playmobil and we’d spend hours creating intricate dioramas and making up stories to go with them.

    My own favorite toys when I was growing up were books, Legos (creating dioramas and stories, just like my daughter!), and stickers. In fact, I still love stickers and have to pull myself away from the racks of stickers in the local craft store. My parents and I hiked a lot, which gave me ample free time outdoors to make up large, complicated stories in my head. After re-reading my post, I think the best toys I had were the stories I made up while we hiked and camped.

    Does anyone else reminisce fondly about getting a new box of crayons with your annual bunch of school supplies? I loved the smell and the sharpness of the crayons. Any of the blue and purple colors were the very best.

  84. I have been seriously lacking for carefree fun and enjoyment lately, but the other weekend my husband and I took a walk through Central Park and wound up riding the carousel, which was entirely 100% fun.

    Something I do love to do that I find super fun is going to petting zoos. I squeal like a total kid to get to feed goats and llamas and donkeys. And I also love to go to dog parks in the city and just sit on a bench and watch all the dogs having such a great time. If any of them should happen to want to come sit on my lap and give me kisses, well, that’s just a bonus!

  85. We bought our swingset for our daughter… yeah right. I love to swing. And play with cornstarch and water. Now THAT’S good times.

  86. Building blanket and pillow forts!!! This is less practical now that I am larger than a typical couch cusion, but that was something I loved to do as a kid. When I was in college one night my friend and I built a fort and then sat in it and watched Night of the Living Dead. Best, Fort, Evah! We even got pizza delivered.

    (Though I guess part of the appeal of forts was that it was a private space all ones own and now my whole house is my private space… so I guess I don’t REALLY need it. But I want it.)

    I also prefer markers to crayons, Any excuse to use a marker, really.

    I do miss spending time outside just to be outside. I think this is mostly because I live in an urban environment now, more than I just never go outside. But if I didn’t walk my dog the only time I’d spend outside would be when I was going from one place too another. But I used to spend HOURS outdoors exploring the woods, or playing pretend in the back yard. I miss that.

    Oh and one thing that brings out the kid in everyone who visits my house is my “Love Sac.” http://www.lovesac.com/supersac.asp Best Furniture Purchase EVAH.

  87. Oh, I miss my crayons so much. I must say, I miss hula-hooping, from my childhood. Sometime in middle school, I lost my ability to keep one on my hips, but I remember it being so much fun! Also: Trampolines.

  88. This is so funny, because I went out to the store to look for a coloring book last night. I found none, sadly, and settled for a puzzle book, but I really want a coloring book.

    Bouncy castles are love, too. The summer camp I’ve worked at the past couple years has a “Circus Day” which includes a bouncy obstacle course. Yes, you read that right. Two people can race in it — through tubes, over and under horizontal “pipes”, over nets, up ladders, and down a slide. The little kids always want to race the counselors…. and who are we to disappoint, right? (They win. We get distracted bouncing.)

    My best friends and I have had periodic “toy days” since we were all in college. This usually involves bringing whatever toys we have (sadly not many, since we were all nominally grownups, and as students lacked disposable income) to a central location and making up games on the spot. Turns out we were all the sort of kids that played with My Little Ponies and FischerPrice play food in the Little People buildings augmented with Legos and Tinker Toys…. and anything else that happened to be lying around. Using items for their intended purpose is boring, y’all!!

    We haven’t done that in a while. If I finish the paper that’s due Monday… *wanders off to make a phone call*

  89. Sometime in middle school, I lost my ability to keep one on my hips

    Cause your hoop was too small! The smaller the hoop is relative to your body, the faster you have to go to keep it up, so child-size hoops just don’t work for non-children. If you can find a hooping class near you, they’ll have adult-size hoops where physics works with you to keep the thing up.

  90. favorite crayola color: periwinkle!

    I may have to buy that tower of crayons now… Although I think I’d miss the mini-boxes in the giant boxes and organizing the colors into the different miniboxes.

    I’ve recently started to try to teach myself to draw.

    I play dress-up and let’s pretend a lot more now (re-enactment) than I did as a kid, really.

    I miss swings.

    As a kid, I always wanted a Tonka truck, and never got one. And my brother annexed all my Legos because he built things and then never took them apart again.

    My husband turns 40 this year, and I’m going to give him a Fischertechnik set (http://www.fischertechnik.de/en/index.aspx) because he never got one as a kid and wanted one.

    Something I wish had been around when I was a kid: http://www.adafruit.com/blog/about/

    Sorry about the disjointedness, I’ve been up way too long today.

  91. Katia said: “I dearly loved to play with these red plastic bricks: http://www.balmoralsoftware.com/apb/index.htm

    Dude, I had those bricks! I only had one container, so my supply wasn’t large, but WE STILL HAVE THEM! They live in the playroom at my parents’ house, and just last weekend, my 4-year-old niece and I played with them! She was so thrilled that the windows and doors really open, and she loved the wee house I built with them.

    Somehow, I always thought they were some sort of generic nothing brand. My set has green shingles. Man, now I want all the other sets!

  92. Erika, you think we’ll get upset at the idea of eating babies?? It’s our favorite snack!!

    The brick discussion reminded me of this…does anyone remember lincoln logs? Those were awesome, but my sisters and I could never manage to build anything cool unless we were following the instructions. And to think, our dad was an engineer.

  93. We had lincoln logs! But they were hand-me-down, so we never had instructions. On the other hand, that meant that they were the all-wood kind, not the plastic ones that were being made when I was little.

  94. We used to color in college, but I haven’t done it lately. I’ll definitely have to rectify that. Blowing bubbles is good, too. I don’t think I know anyone with a trampoline to bounce on, but I would like to!

    FJ and Sweetmachine: Nothing beats cuddling with a teddy bear. I purged some of my stuffed animals a while back, but there are two original Carebears and a Heart-to-Heart bear on my bed now, and TONS of stuffed animals at my parents’ house that I cannot part with.

    Thanks to a new-found (or really, newly-indulged) love of the swing dance scene in DC, I’ve rediscovered the joy of playing with my hair. Up? Down? Funny curls? 40s style victory rolls? I dunno, but it’s fun to mess around with for ages without an actual goal of “God, I have to finish this and get moving! Time to leave the house!”

    Piffle: I would *kill* for a grown-up playground, and some big-ass swings.

  95. Um, was there a point where we were supposed to give up the toys? *said as she looks around her desk at the beanies and slinky and plastic cat and fill it yourself lamp filled with gumball machine superballs and a beaded fringed shade*

    I still buy toys for myself, only now I call them “collections”. In fact, I just bought the purple Easter Beanie Baby Bear on Wednesday because I’d been eyeing him for awhile and he was half price and he’s *purple* already and I need another plushie like a hole in the head and he’s making me happier than spending that money on a latte would.

    And my collectable toys are almost all out of the package where I can, you know, PLAY with them. That includes the action figures and Barbies and especially the Hot Wheels. I have a special love for Hot Wheels because we didn’t have them while I was growing up because my sister and I were girls and girls didn’t play with toy cars, but Grandma had them because I have male cousins so I used to love setting up the tracks and holding races when we visited.

    I also have almost all my old toys from my childhood. I never let my parents throw them out; I boxed them up and took them with me when I moved out. My favorites were my plastic horses – a couple of the Breyers are on display in the family room (no, I don’t hide my love of toys), but I need to find the smaller ones.

    My favorite crayon color was blue violet. I have nail polish in almost the same color.

  96. Whatever you do ALWAYS stick with Crayola..any other cheap imitation is crappy wax!!

    Also, it’s funny b/c my 30 y.o. Sis-In-Law JUST asked me the other day to buy her coloring books and crayons! LOL!!

    I loove coloring, but Play-Doh is ALWAYS the best, especially the smell!!

    Also, don’t you just looove how they have all these Play-Doh accessories around NOW and not when we were younger? And what’s with all these cool ass toys now? And the internet?

    Oh, Well, personally, I would like to see “Popples”make a comeback!

    Also my favorite color always has been and always will be Black.

  97. @fillyjonk
    WOW!
    it never occurred to me that there might be *another* enchanted forest! now i’m thinking it’s an obvious idea … but both called enchanted forest!??

    ours was built in the 60’s and opened in ’71 … but they keep building new stuff, so only the storybook trail part looks anything like the park i remember. it’s so fun, still, a great place to take kids now where it’s not commercial like disneyland and feels like a fun, family park.

    if you come to oregon, i will TOTES take you there.

  98. Hearing how much everybody loves to play actually makes me feel a little guilty, because honestly I’m not much of a play-er. I don’t find it particularly fun to build things with Legos with my son, or play dress up, or blow bubbles (for more than a few minutes), or push cars around. It’s just not something I really enjoy. Playing with toys or playing pretend just isn’t really my thing.

    But, I figure there are other things I enjoy doing (reading stories, art stuff, singing and dancing, the aforementioned bug-watching as well as cloud-watching and nature walks and things like that), and I can be playful even if I really don’t enjoy playing.

  99. Hey, that’s good to know about hula hoops. I was totally bumming that somehow I had lost the ability to hoop the hula… tried one last year and just looked foolish… I will have to find a big one and experiment out in the back yard. The neighbors already think I’m a little off, what’s one more weird hobby? I’m sure they sold tickets to watch me paint the deck while dodging curious wasps who liked the smell and color of the cedar stain (the siding had cedar colored streaks until I had it removed), or the day I was shouting at the lawn to make sure the danged mole went deep UNDERGROUND before I started up the lawnmower again and took years off both our lives…

  100. I really, really miss Telephone. You know, where you sit in a circle, and one person starts by whispering something like “Shapely Prose” to the person next to her (it was always the girls that played this at lunch), and it goes around the circle, and the last person says what she heard out loud, and due to various misunderstandings, it comes out something like “paper toes.” Of course, absolute honesty was important–nothing lamer than the smartass who likes to mess it up on purpose, and changes the message completely halfway through.

    I used to think this was the living end. Almost every lunchtime in elementary school, someone would suggest it, and we’d enthusiastically set to. But then, almost overnight it seems, it wasn’t the thing to do any more. I suggested it one day, and everyone, like they’d gotten a message I’d missed, poo-poohed it. Come to think of it, that may have been the start of my sense of separation from mainstream society….

    Green. Just plain green. The exotic colors were, and are, wonderful, but just as traveling to distant lands reminds one of the pleasures of home, they served mainly as pleasant variations that kept the experience of picking up that green crayon just as fresh and satisfying as it always was.

  101. Oh, and I sleep with a teddy bear, and I’m proud of it. His name is Niles and he’s gone to Europe and the mountains and all sorts of places. Potential human sleeping partners are given to understand that his presence is nonnegotiable. He’s actually only the second one I’ve had since I was 7, and I wouldn’t even have gotten him except Scratch met an unfortunate end about a decade back when I stupidly immersed him in water and his insides rotted.

  102. this was way upthread, too…but you know you can rent a moonwalk and have it set up in your yard? You can! For less money than you’d think. Great for parties! I think in some cases weight limits are about not injuring smaller people who might be in there. There might be a limit on the total apparatus, but it’s not such that an adult can participate. I can attest, they are are great fun as an adult and FANTASTIC exercise.

  103. Just for the record, we don’t eat babies…just things flavored like babies. Gives us an added sense of cash-ay.

  104. Play dough. Not the store-bought stuff, my mother had a recipe and would cook up a batch, and we’d add food colouring to make it different colours.

  105. Crimson, mang. You just can’t beat it.

    When I was a kid, my friends and I would get together, dress up in makeshift costumes, and have make-believe adventures in each other’s back yards or down each other’s streets. One of the ones we used to play was that we were orphans escaping from a corrupt Victorian orphanage, but there were also sword fights and things of that nature. The desire to continue this pursuit is about 75% of the reason I’m joining the SCA.

  106. Amethyst, my mom used to make play dough too. As I got older I discovered you can have almost as much fun (even the food coloring) with actual dough, with the added bonus that then you get to eat fresh baked goods. Sugar cookies and press cookies are particularly play-dough-like.

  107. I got such a huge kick out of dressing up for the PA RenFaire last year. It was my birthday, and it was basically a giant day of “let’s pretend.” (Would have been even more awesome if I wasn’t wearing too many layers in 90-degree heat. Yes, I am weaksauce.)

    I need to find my colored pencils and crayons. I still have one of these books, which are awesome for coloring because you get to make up whatever patterns you see. Good times.

  108. Ummm . . . I didn’t get the stop playing memo either, I feel strange. In fact, I love being an adult because you can do everything that kids do and no one is going to make you stop and go to sleep.

    One of my most favorite games is shooting things with b.b. guns. (We use balloons now, since the small mountain of broken glass in the backyard was becoming a hazard.) Also, playing word games. There’s one where you pick a topic and then take turns naming a member of that group until you get through the alphabet. Like Cities: Albany, Boston, Cancun, Dover, etc.

    Crayons – another vote for Cadet Blue. I was always confused by Carnation Pink though, even after I could read I could not put those letters in an order that made sense to my brain.

    Another fun thing to do with crayons, esp if they’ve been broken is to get them a little melty over a candle and then draw with the melted wax.

    Oh, oh!! And you can use washable markers to make your own Paint With Water pictures, just scribble in the parts you want a certain color and then paint over them with a watercolor paint brush. But the markers have to be “Washable” or it won’t work.

  109. I used to think this was the living end. Almost every lunchtime in elementary school, someone would suggest it, and we’d enthusiastically set to.

    That reminds me of my favorite playground activity: swings! Swings are so fun. Once I got over the fear that, as an adult, I’d break them, and realized that my butt would indeed squeeze into them relatively comfortably, I rediscovered the fun of swings. I haven’t mustered up the bravery to jump off in a high mid-swing the way I did as a kid, but that seems like it could easily result in a sprained ankle, anyway, and just swinging is enough fun. If I could design my ideal backyard it would most definitely feature a swing set, with at least one swing with a seat specifically made to comfortably fit adult-sized rear ends.

  110. Most of all, I think I miss playing with my cousin and his dog! A little bit because I’m in grad school at the moment, and don’t have access to animals very often, and a little bit because I’m lucky enough that most of the other things I really enjoyed doing when I was a kid – drawing, making up stories, acting in plays, reading – I still get to do nowadays!

    But yeah, she was the most beautiful Keeshond cross, and was incredibly patient with us as we ranged all around the half-suburb half-fields around my aunt’s house… we took her swimming in the local dam, taught her ‘showjumping’ in the backyard, made her play the role of wonder police detective dog, buried her in my cousin’s sand-pit, and I’m pretty sure I even have a photo somewhere of the three of us with her dressed up in clothes (human clothes, not dolls’ ones, but still!).

    She was a great dog <3.

  111. @hallie When SM lived in Oregon, I actually went by a billboard for that Enchanted Forest when I was on a bus down to visit her and I flipped my wig! The one here opened in 1955, and I don’t know whether it had anything to do with the Oregon one… it would probably say on that history page if it was his second venture, right? I do think it’s possible that he was inspired by the MD one, which was apparently only the second theme park in the US (after Disneyland). The Oregon one seems to be way bigger and looks amazing… I can barely imagine what it would have been like for me to go there as a kid, I would have cooked myself from the inside.

    Harriet, you can actually make a hula hoop easily and cheaply — the decoration is actually the hardest part, but you can skip it or half-ass it like I did!

  112. I would totally love to have an adult-sized swingset. The free motion of swining is so exhilirating, but unfortunately the last couple swings I tried left me uncomfortably squished. :-(

    Hopscotch. Four square. Drawing with sidewalk chalk. Riding a bike. Jumping rope, especially with friends (“Mexico, Texaco…”)

    Does anyone else remember the Tinkerbelle peelable nail polish? I LOVED that stuff, I could easily kill a couple of hours painting my nails, peeling it off, and repainting my nails. Pehaps that contributed to my love of keeping my nails painted, especially now that there are so many pretty colors ^_^ I wish they still made it, I bet my daughter would love it as much as I did.

    I love Barbie, no matter what, at least she does stuff, like be a doctor, unlike the Bratz, who just stand around being “glamorous”.

    I have also had some teen rebellion moments lately. I’ve been fighting the urge to dye my hair blue and get an eyebrow piercing because I’m an officer for the school parent group at my daughter’s school, and it just wouldn’t look “right”. I was also hit with an urge to draw all over my jeans the other day, like I used to do in high school.

    I think I’ve rambled enough, so I’m just going to say you can’t go wrong with purple or violet crayons. :-D

  113. I love swings still. And playing in the water with those long floating noodles you can wrap around yourself :)

    My main pastimes as a kid were Lego and drawing house-plans. I did pull out a ruler and paper a few years back and draw some, but not regularly.
    I’d go back to Lego, but as an adult it seems a bit disappointing – it’s all so much more ‘set’ based now, and sort of prefabricated (or at least, that’s the Lego available in New Zealand shops). To get enough blocks to be creative with, I’d have to buy so many sets. :(

    Favourite colours were always the blue-green and green-blue, though I’d forgotten that Crayola was the first place where I learned to insist there was a difference between the two. Now I understand the grammar of it (and the colour wheel), I’m even more insistent, but it’s shocking – SHOCKING! – how many people think that they mean the same thing.

  114. Oh and sardines! Fairly simple game. One person is chosen to be “it” and goes off to hide. Then the other players have to find “it”. Whent they do they hide with “it” (which can necessitate some squeezing, depending on size of hiding place and number of players, hence “sardines”). The last person to find everyone is then the new “it”.

    Thought of anther thing I miss- playing in creeks. Talk about a setting for adventure play. Most of them are probably full of waste runoff these days :-( But boy did I have some good times.

  115. Where my kids went to 2-y-o preschool, different things would be out on the tables on different mornings. One day, as I sat in the tiny chair next to my daughter and fidgeted with some Play-Doh, the teacher said, “parents tend to sit down more on days the Play-Doh is out.”

    I agree that playing is an important perk of parenthood … or aunt-hood, or big-sister-hood … and this post is a wise reminder that you can just skip the excuse of having a kid present.

    @ Lori, don’t feel bad (not that you are): my least favorite thing to do with my kids is “play pretend.” We have actually made a list of ten things I would rather do than play pretend. No Mom can be all things. A Sarah can jump in here any time about the ridiculous futility of trying. ;-)

  116. A Sarah can jump in here any time about the ridiculous futility of trying. ;-)

    *jumps*

    *IN A BIG BOUNCY CASTLE!!!*

    Yeah, it’s futile, and I totally get sucked into the guilt anyway. On the other hand…

    *jumps*

    Whee!

  117. I’ve never stopped coloring. It’s a great task for when listening to talk radio. My sister and I bought coloring books and crayons for her daughters. But they ended up in the bookcase forgotten for a while. Eventually I pulled them out and started coloring in them myself.

    The thing I only ever did as a kid and would like to do again is make a house out of popsicle sticks. I made a pretty kick ass dollhouse once that I still have. It actually started out as something for a science project. Once that project was over, I added another section onto the house and made furniture. I used discarded cereal and Kleenex boxes to make a refrigerator, pantry, dresser, and bed, all of which I then painted with acrylics. For something made by a 10-year-old, it’s stood the test of time.

  118. I’ve been itching to make a dollhouse lately myself; I’ve been contenting myself with playing the Sims. But it would have to be in like 1/6th scale so it would fit the old-timey G.I. Joe we’ve got. By ‘we’ I mean my sister and I. Every so often we get something just for Joe, like the sweater I made him out of a pair of Fair-Isle socks, or the dark blue Vespa my sister got him at Savers. Apparently he bought it used from Barbie, as that’s what the number plate still says. My sister likes to say that he used to be in the Navy, but in a fit of self-examination realized he was actually a conscientious objector and somehow managed to quit that gig; she also says he has since come out, and is a bit of a metrosexual, which I suppose explains the Vespa. He might; it’s really not my business, I guess. He also has PTSD from ‘Nam, I hear. Poor Joe.

    I think we just feel sorry for Joe because he sat for years on my mom’s living room mantel with only a hot-pink skirt masking taped on to him to keep him from being entirely naked.

    This is, incidentally, a backstory made up by us as adults. Not that his earlier life, as the single dad of the three Holly Hobbie girls, has been forgotten.

    I’m still stuck on the 70’s Crayola names, and ones like “macaroni and cheese” (properly in all lowercase) baffle me. I don’t know what my favorite color is (though I liked how silver was strong enough to completely cover black, but I can tell you which color I *hated:* cornflower (as fillyjonk remarked above).

    Because I always picked it up thinking it was a nice dark blue like violet blue or midnight blue, only to find it was a trick and a betrayal. I hate, hate, hate cornflower. Just like I hate raisins. Because it’s supposed to be CHOCOLATE CHIPS in cookies!

  119. I miss acting out elaborate drama stories with small plastic animals and dolls. Oh, and it would be nice to be able to run and skip for no reason without weirding people out completely, but no, adult running is done on a track or a treadmill or in some other structured manner.

    I still collect plastic figurines and dolls, I just don’t play with them. And you can pry my video games out of my cold dead hands. (Or get me a PS3 and steal the other ones while I am distracted?)

  120. Going slightly off topic – oh wow, Thalia, that’s one of the many reasons I hate raisins too! You take a nice bite of an oatmeal cookie, thinking it’s one of those scrumptious oatmeal chocolate chip creations, and those dark spots turn out to be *raisins*. Ick!

    (Ok, I also hate how they taste. But I really hate how they masquerade as one of my favorite foods. I hate to be tricked like that.)

  121. I’m a preschool teacher, so I get to do this stuff all day long. Jealous??? ;-) My favorite thing to play with growing up was my Marbleworks set (basically a variety of fancy plastic tubes that you could connect in various way to make tracks for marbles). I would play with it for hours and would even anthropomorphize my marbles: giving them names (my favorite was “Aquamarine”), having them race, and even having them get in relationships with one another. Soooooo weird. Anyways, we have a set at work and I LOVE getting it out, but it also makes it kind of hard to focus on the kids instead of doing my own thing. :-(

    My favorite thing to do with the kids lately is play Dracula (they are obsessed with Dracula due to the Charlotte Diamond song “Looking for Dracula”). Basically, I am Dracula. I pretend to be asleep, and they “sneak” up on me and tap me. I then wake up dramatically, laugh maniacally in a deep voice, and try to grab them, tickling them if I succeed. It is every child on the playground’s favorite game ever, and they request it constantly. Even though it’s amazingly fun, I only indulge them a couple times a week because it is also amazingly exhausting (especially when 20 three-year-olds mob me at once)!

  122. I was never really into crayons even as a little tiny kid they didn’t look “real” enough for me but I adored pencil crayons and even up through senior in high school would spend the evenings coloring those intricate black velvet posters and give them as gifts that my family loved at christmas. Man I miss that I still have quite a few of those posters uncolored, and I used to have a HUGE box of pencil crayons Laurentian is by far the best of those but I can’t get them here in the states. :(

    i am now thirty and just went back to college to transform my childhood love of coloring and drawing into a career in graphic and web design.. then I can continue to play AND get paid for it lol.

    The one thing i do miss so much and long for is all the hideouts and forts we would make in the trees and old buildings all over the farm I grew up on. My school yard also had two very close lines of honeysuckle, lilac, and boxelder (i think) super tall shrubs surrounding the whole huge yard and we made the GREATEST forts between their branches and had amazing games of capture the flag and spy that would last days or weeks always picking up at the next recess period. It was so much fun!!

  123. Bubbles! I’m only 19, but I still wax nostalgic for the good ol’ days of childhood. Sometimes I sit on the balcony of my dorm building and blow bubbles. I usually get some pretty weird looks, but…who cares? Life’s too short :)

    I also love swing sets and challenging people to see who can swing highest.

  124. Logs – riding on logs. We live near the ocean (five-minute walk) and the highest tides near the summer solstice ( I’m also a tide-chart geek) set all the driftwood afloat. There are usually a couple of logs that float well and are splinter-free, and I climb on with my kids and see where the current will take us. I also love to check out tide pools for sea life and look under rocks for crabs and midshipmen. ( the fish, not actual sailors)

  125. “Just for the record, we don’t eat babies…just things flavored like babies. Gives us an added sense of cash-ay.”

    Darn it, atiton! You mean I’ve been doing it wrong?? Guess it’s time for a new cookbook.

  126. @Kimberley: Tide pools are the best part about rocky beaches! Who says they’re just for kids? My dad, sister and I love to go tidepooling when we get the chance. Usually we count ourselves lucky to find sea anemones, which are great fun to poke and watch them contract! Crabs, hermit and otherwise, are fairly common. So are tiny fish. Once we found a young lobster, and Dad stepped on a huge yellow sea cucumber in Hawaii. (I think that’s what it was… aquatic slug-like thing.) It was fascinating in an oogy, I’m-glad-I-didn’t-step-on-that, I-dare-you-to-touch-it way.

  127. Woah, I just reread my comment, and I was kinda snippy and defensive about my fetus cookies. Sorry! Of course you guys would understand fetus cookies! I still haven’t mastered the fine art of baby-flavored donut frying, but baby steps, ladies, baby steps.

    I must have been cranky when I wrote that; I’d just read every last comment over on the F. U.nited post. Understandable reaction, yeah?

  128. I’ve only skimmed the comments, so I don’t know for sure that someone hasn’t mentioned these, but do you remember the square plastic potholder looms? It’s just a big plastic square with pegs, and you would weave these rings that I’m pretty sure were cut from irregular nylons and tights into little checkered squares that were supposed to be potholders, but were good for exactly nothing, since they were tiny, and melted on contact with anything warmer than your hand?

    I loved that thing when I was a kid. I made hundreds of useless potholders, until my dad made me a bead loom out of a shoebox, and I made hundreds of ugly woven bead bracelets.

    See, now I want to get in touch with my inner child by weaving something useless. And possibly ugly. Do they still make those potholder looms?

  129. I knit all the time and don’t produce finished items all that often.

    I love kiddie lit. That’s one of the things I never really stopped doing. Well, except for a few years there where I was finally old enough to read ADULT books and I didn’t want to read kids books. But now I love it.

    And Play-Doh! We have some at school since you need it to play Cranium Cadoo, and when we have game days with the kids, if no one is using the Play-Doh I will sit and play with it and make roses to give to the students.

    Also, paper snowflakes. So much fun. Still make them.

  130. I hate raisins. Because it’s supposed to be CHOCOLATE CHIPS in cookies!

    OH GOD YES. Stealth raisins are MADE OF FAIL. Also carob chips–tasty in their own way, but not when you’re expecting chocolate, and my first experience with them was when a friend’s mom insisted they tasted “just like chocolate”. They don’t.

  131. Grouchy insomniac parent here to bring down the thread.

    Having a four-year-old, husband with a chronic illness and working full-time doesn’t make me want to play at kids stuff so much, more I’ve been daydreaming about decidedly adult pursuits, like, smoking cigarettes, getting drunk on red wine, and having sex in the middle of the day. None of these are about to happen anytime soon, and for good reason.

    /end gloom

    Okay, so I have access to some pretty fun toys. I got my little one a huge book of Disney Princess paper dolls (don’t get me started on the Princesses — I have chosen the path of least resistance her, but I draw the line so far at Barbie) and playing with them is fun. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and my little princess loves it too. (Same little princess who stomped around for a half hour in a very dirty puddle and then played with a stray cat with sopping wet pants for half hour. She’s a rough-and-tumble, kind-to-animals sort of princess.) So far, we’ve only borrowed a VHS copy but I’ll need to find one of our own.

    We’ve been watching Pinnochio, which I’m of two minds about: As a kid, I was far too impacted by it and it scared me into being far too good for my own good. As a parent, I think, “that child of mine needs to learn that there are consequences to bad behavior!” Although, generally speaking, not growing donkey ears and tails. But, last night, when she was fighting going to bed and complaining that I wasn’t listening to her, she said, “you have to listen to me. I’m your conscience.” With perfect enunciation. I had to laugh.

    I do love reading outload to children, mine and any others that are around. I don’t really do lots of funny voices but I manage to hold attention. I can read upside down and at weird angles so I can hold the book out so they can see the pictures really well. I’m looking forward to getting into chapter books soon, and I think that will be much fun.

  132. There’s not a lot I did as a kid that I don’t still allow myself to do as a grownup.

    Hello Kitty/Sanrio nonsense? Check.

    Soft toys? Check.

    Pin-ups of actors I have the hots for on my extra-sized pinboards? Check.

    Weakness for cute stickers? Check.

    Accumulation of random sparkly objects? Check.

    Extensive collection of illustrated picture books? Check.

    Leaping onto nearest swing whenever accompanying friends with small kids to the park? Check.

    I do miss playing with my Barbies, no matter how ideologically unsound, and wish I’d kept them all. Some of those 60s and early 70s outfits were brilliant. I also lament the abolition of the hugely tall playground slides that kids regularly killed themselves falling off of. I used to looooove going on those…

  133. On reflection I would also add that Mr Machine and I have specific voices, personalities, and elaborate backstories about our cats. I kinda assume everyone with pets does that, though — it’s like the ultra version of playing with stuffed animals.

  134. SM, our cats have theme songs. Burton’s is to the tune of Copa Cabana, ie “His name is Burton, He is a kitty…” the words change each time the songs are sung, but the theme song must be sung when a cat enters the room.

    The cats have made it clear that they think their humans are insane.

  135. You all have great ideas for having fun. You know ,Hallie, I always wanted to take my kids to Enchanted Forest, I think it’s over by Salem. My kids are 22, 21 and 15 now, but I still don’t think it’s too late. Have fun everyone.

  136. On reflection I would also add that Mr Machine and I have specific voices, personalities, and elaborate backstories about our cats. I kinda assume everyone with pets does that, though — it’s like the ultra version of playing with stuffed animals.

    My dogs are from outer space, and certain actions (one likes to walk in circles) are actually communication with the mothership.

  137. My cat’s voice hates and wants to kill everything. She says things, through me, like: Give me the kibble now, and I will let you live a little longer, and I hate you, rub my head.

    This is probably a combination of needing an outlet for my hate/kill feelings which does not involve any actual killing, and the fact that she can slink out the window, capture a birdie, bring it back in, do slaughter, and be sitting prissily licking her paws while covered in blood in 15 min. flat.

  138. On reflection I would also add that Mr Machine and I have specific voices, personalities, and elaborate backstories about our cats.

    We both use a high, slightly croaky voice when speaking for our dog. As in,”she says, ‘worship me, minion!'” or ‘I looked outside, that’s good for a treat!’

  139. I’m a little late to the convo, but let me just say
    “YAY! I’m not the only one!!!!”

    I decided, at age 23, that I was finally allowed to graduate to a 64 pack and I love them!

    Coloring is a wonderful way to de-stress!
    I sit at my computer catching up w/ tv shows and color like crazy :)

    Because I love you all so much, here’s a sample: http://shapelyprose.ning.com/photo/animal-1

  140. This entire post = a decent chunk of the reason I want to be a grade school teacher. You get to spend all day playing with markers and crayons and people just think you’re like committed to your job or something :)

  141. For me it was listening to music. Yes, I listen to it now, but back then I couldn’t enjoy music while multitasking. I turned the lights down and totally rocked out, dancing like a lunatic, lip synching into an invisible microphone and pretending to be a rock star. I think now I no longer pretend to be a rock star because I no longer see that as a possibility for the future, whereas when I was a kid I KNEW I was destined for fame and greatness.

  142. Oh blanket/sheet forts, totally. I loved doing that. And ridiculous amounts of stupid role-play (and I don’t mean like how most adults who role-play do it – I mean making a town of shells that lived on our bedroom shelves and talked and had little adventures). And yeah, coloring was pretty big. And reading, almost nonstop. Oh cards, too. I loved playing cards, and building card towns, and practicing my shuffling skills, and winning at solitaire.

    What WAS up with cornflower??

    I have no reservations about playing with Legos as an adult. They’re just pricey so I don’t usually get any, and I don’t own any right now. But I built a Lego tie fighter with my ex while prepping for a colonoscopy last year, and it worked remarkably well to pass the otherwise horribly miserable time!

    SM and FJ, remember that time in the science quad that we played with stuff???

    I feel like we would have played video games before I borrowed the NES, but none of us thought of them as a thing to purposefully acquire. But we played a lot of computer games!

    Red Rover! I had forgotten all about that. That was easily one of my favorite games as a kid.

    WAITWAITWAIT. To everyone who loved Red Rover… I mean, seriously??? Ohhhhh I have soooooooo much trauma from that game. It was so bullying, and injurious. I was extra small as a kid, so I was repeatedly “called over” (to be clotheslined at top speed, of course), back and forth and over and over every game. And I was always the target when kids ran towards my line, so my arms got hurt and I was often knocked down. I think I got injured enough to go to the nurse almost every time we played it. (In GYM CLASS. What was wrong with teachers back then???)

    Hey hey controversy! I hate everyone who loved Red Rover!!! (okay, that’s not true.)

  143. bellacoker, we were never ever allowed to have bb guns as kids, but as an adult, holy crap are they fun!! (however, we did have photon guns: also fun.) and SilverSeraphim, holy crap, Sardines! That was fun game.

    We had this plastic gear set as kids, and I don’t know where it came from. I think my mom sold toys to neighbors for a little while when that was a thing to do, and it was an extra or a reward or something. It was one of the best toys that has ever existed – just endless hours of fun, and it never got old.

  144. OMG OMG it still exists!! Or at least, new sets but the same kinds of pieces! We had little merry-go-rounds you could attach to the gears, which I don’t see in these pictures, but the animals have the same weird little flat bodies, and there are the same little base puzzle pieces and decorative nubs you can attach! WANT!!!

  145. Because of this thread, I went out today and bought that Crayola 150 pack of crayons, a coloring book, other assorted drawing materials.

    I always loved arts and crafts stuff, but thought I was crappy at it, especially drawing. So I gave it up. But you know what, who cares if I do suck? I like the idea that I have a sketch book and can sit in the park and draw.

    Oh and my favorite crayon color was totally cerulean. Though today I am quiet delighted by wisteria!

    Oh and favorite childhood toy? A dollhouse thing called Oh Jenny. They were very little people with huge heads and I played with that thing for hours. When I got older, my grandmother threw it out; I have looked online for a replacement more times than I care to count!

  146. I loved loved loved swings, and I still do. I can go on them for hours and hours. I really should go find myself some swings to have some fun on.

    Also: I love glass markers. You know, those markers you can use to write on glass or mirrors that you can erase off with water. I once drew an underwater battle scene between a large-breasted stick-figure sailor-fuku school girl and an octopus on a friend’s aquarium. Her grandmother loved it and didn’t clean it off till months later.

  147. I’m someone who takes no shame in doing things that are considered “kid only”. I think so many people would be happier if they had a hobby, like video games, or watching cartoons.

    A lot of adult programming, is extremely depressing. Basically here’s what you’ve got:

    1. sex

    2. crime/violence/gore

    3. oh, and more sex

    People seem to forget cartoons are created by adults. The story lines reflect the experience that adult has had in their life, so it is humor based on adult living, not just kid stuff.

    I feel the reason Spongebob is so popular, is because the people who work on the show, do such an excellent job of blending the adult world and kid world aspects of the show.

    People who tease, or mock people who enjoy kid stuff, I think are resentful because for some reason, peer pressure maybe, they’re not allowed to enjoy those things.

    I mean look at Japan, everything in Japan has some sort of cute on it. They are pretty much famous, for their cute. Their country also tends to have less crime than the US. I’m not going to suggest Japan is perfect, no place is perfect that I know of. The people there seem to be much more socially adjusted then most. Perhaps it’s because they’re not having to repress their true interests, interests that would be seen as childish elsewhere.

    I do think people would be better off if they stopped trying to play at “I’m a big boy/girl!”, and just let themselves have fun once in awhile. They also probably would be closer to their kids too. I think it would’ve been great if your friend and her dad were able to talk, and play Super Nintendo together.

  148. They are pretty much famous, for their cute. Their country also tends to have less crime than the US.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION

    Seriously, Jackie, your comment not only commits a classic logical fallacy but also essentializes an entire nation of people. Please don’t.

  149. I also really liked telephone, and still play a pen and paper version sometimes with friends; you write a sentence, and then fold the paper over. The next person reads the sentence and then tries to illustrate it, folds the paper over again, and passes it on. The third player looks only at the illustration (not at the sentence before it), and writes a sentence describing the illustration. Folds over, passes on.

    Not really fun without four people or so, but man, I’ve laughed myself sick playing that game.

    I love water-fights.

  150. Well… as an animator, I’ve never had to grow-up (in fact it’s discouraged) – so colouring in, making dolls, collecting action figures (different to the dolls) never stopped happening.
    The one thing that I haven’t done for years is collect & paint those wee pewter D&D game pieces – tiny brushes & stinky paint – good times :)

  151. Oo Witchylana, I used to collect the pewter figurines (not D&D related, though, and not to paint them – I just loooooved them). I still get a little thrill when I see them in stores. I just really like the look and feel of them.

  152. Nothing. Anything I loved to do then, I’ll still do now (at nearly 40) whenever the whim takes me.

  153. Pantomimes! We took a lab trip to the local Dick Whittington a few years ago and yelled OH NO IT ISN’T and HE’S BEHIND YOU along with the four-year-olds and just as gleefully.

    Also, this is an amazing thread and I’ve now made a list of kid things I want to do again, including making chocolate rice krispie cakes and feeding ducklings and walking along the top of walls.

  154. Kickball! A couple of years ago I planned a birthday around it – I live in NYC and wanted a big group activity that wasn’t a bar trip. Everyone had a great time either playing or lounging on the grass, and some neighborhood kids had a ball being our referees. Highly recommended.

  155. I loved reading the responses . . . though I’m a bit late on this post. :0)

    I had model horses made by Breyer. Horse-crazy girl that I was I had many of them! I buy one once in awhile even now but my boys play with them more often. And of course, Lincoln Logs to house the horses. :0)

    Coloring is the best! Midnight blue was my fav color. I still color with my boys but its more relaxing on my own.

    I also liked those velvet posters that came with the four markers and you colored in the picture. Though we always had to buy separate markers cuz the ones that came with never worked for long.

  156. Jumping in late (and my first ever comment, yay!), I was beyond thrilled to realize other people love coloring too!
    At the risk of being branded a heretic, however: I do not like crayons, the awesomeness of Crayola’s palette notwithstanding. Markers, now! I went through a (pretentious) “pencils only” phase in high school, but once I started college my love of felt tips reappeared. Buying new pens is still a major source of joy, no matter how often i do it.
    And just to confirm I’m a big fat 11-year-old really, I’ve rediscovered the comic books I loved as a kid. I don’t know if you ever had anything like that in the US, they may be exclusively a Euro phenomenon… anyway, I’m talking girls’ comics with near toxic levels of girl power! Very little romance and suchlike, instead they’re full of Victorian orphans, ghosts, ponies, aliens, school bullies, ordinary-girl-gets-superpowers-hijinks-ensue…. Good times!
    And best of all? They’re printed in black and white – perfect for coloring! Sometimes I just let myself go and the result tends to be characters who change their clothes as well as skin and hair color several times on one page….

  157. Hey, I also collect (and customize!) model horses and military miniatures.
    And don’t get me started on my hippo collection! (In fact, I embraced hippodom in about 7th grade, when times were tough and people were nasty, just to annoy the popular bullies. Who wants to grow up to be a beautiful swan when you could rather be the most dangerous animal in Africa?) ;-)

  158. @Fillyjonk ~ I never knew that about hula hoops, I used to spend hours in the winter when we were stuck inside the gym at recess making up dances to them while singing songs. I wish that I had been encouraged in those kind of activities when I was that age. Instead life kind of revolved around my sisters volleyball and baseball games both of which I really suck at do to my total lack of hand eye coordination and strong dislike of getting hit in the face with a ball. I can remember asking my mom if I could go to the dance classes that alot of my friends went to and I can’t really remember what she said, I just remember it was met with alot of disdain and I never asked again.

    That being said now I wanna go see if there are any hula hoop classes in my area, or dance classes that I wouldn’t feel like a total outcast at lol.

    @ Alison ~ OMG I am not the only one who would draw house plans. I made the most awesome dream houses of all sorts, tree houses, houses underground I could do that for hours… hell.. days. Then I moved on to house designing software and it was pretty fun though just didn’t hold that same sort of fantasy,

  159. Soap bubbles,
    play-doh ( I always wanted the playdough sets where you make it look like food, or hair or whatever, but my mom hated messes),
    crayons- i wasn’t huge on the metallics but i loved the scented ones and i was really mad when they retired some colors and then had a bunch of kindergarteners name the new colors-
    (also, i have less than 4 feet away from me at this moment a box of 120, plus several coloring books including a hello kitty coloring book and a candyland coloring book, all of which makes my boyfriend laugh at me),
    crayola markers,
    scratch n sniff stickers,
    jelly shoes,
    shrinkydinks (do they still make those, bc I WANT), soap bubbles…
    and this is the short list. actually, many of the things on this list made their way into a care package a friend just mailed me because the stores in alabama don’t sell the same kinds of tea they do in new york. her babies told her i needed playdough and soap bubbles.

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