I remember one Christmas, I was about 2 or 3 years old. We received Kenner Tree Tots complete with their own Tree House. I Loved playing with the tree tots! Yes. It was a family who lived in a tree. Fascinating! I called the girl Chrissy and the boy Tommy and the dog Barclay. I don't know if those were their official names or not, but that's what I called them.
That same Christmas we also got some Playskool's Weebles little people. And Weebles were cool because "Weebles Wobble but they don't fall down!". Yes, that was their slogan. There must have been an epidemic with competitors' "Little People" always falling down or something, because that catchy phrase sold millions of Weebles!
We can't talk "Little People" without mentioning the Fisher Price Little People. Fisher Price took the concept of Little People to a whole new level. There were farmers and school children and even Sesame Street Characters! A few of my lucky rich friends had whole towns of Fisher Price Little People in their playrooms. There was the Farm, the Amusement Park, the French Tudor Style 2-story House, the School House, the Auto-Mechanic shop with attached Gas Station and Parking Garage, and even an A-Frame "vacation" home!
We were only ever fortunate to have the red barn because we weren't "lucky rich kids". No, we just had a simple wooden doll house and regular boring old wooden blocks to "build" houses and furniture for our little people.
Nonetheless, playing with Little People became my favorite pastime. I think I played with Little People even after I was "too old" to be playing with them. And I was no respecter of Little People either. I mixed and matched the FP Little People with the Weebles and the Tree Tots. No discrimination here!
I was always a "story-maker", even before I began writing. Playing with these Little People allowed me an avenue by which to create storylines and characters with ongoing plot lines. I remember once, Mrs. Weeble was trying to have an affair with Fisher Price Farmer Bob. However, Fisher Price Granny caught on and wouldn't hear of it. And Tommy and Chrissy's Tree House broke at some point but thankfully the Farmer Bob and his wife adopted them. All was well in the land of the Little People.
In a house full of 7 kids, sometimes I just wanted my own space to do my own thing. These were definitely my favorite toys. I could play by myself for hours on end with the Little People. Until, that is, one of the other kids wanted a chance to play too. It's true. My mom would have to put time restrictions on how long I was able to play with Little People before letting one of the others have a turn.
I obviously don't play with Little People anymore. Though, that doesn't mean there still aren't characters with storylines and unfolding plots forever on-going in my mind. But now, I just write it all down.
What about you out there in the blogosphere? What was your favorite childhood toy?