Monday, September 10, 2007

The magic of PlayMobil

My son, Aidan, is obsessed with PlayMobil. Specifically, knights. His first introduction to them was when he received a single figure as a birthday party favor. He then received the knight on the far left as a reward for some good behavior, although I can't for the life of me remember what said behavior was. We then innocently picked up a PlayMobil catalog at our favorite toy store (called "The Toy Store"--how great is that?) while shopping for a gift for a friend once and the rest is history. Aidan was continually drawn to the various knight sets displayed in the catalog but would never ask if he could have any of them. That was why we decided to surprise him with the "SuperSet Castle" for his 5th birthday. The set consists of a fort with dungeon, large shooting cannon and four knights. He also received a supplemental set from some friends (with a horse to boot!), bringing his knight collection to 7. His birthday was in July and not a day has passed in which he has not played with some or all of the figures. Over the course of his play, he has come to give the knights names, which he came up with completely on his own. They are Salt, Prince, Buckhead, and two Rants and two Drakes. The horse's name is Sergeant. Yes, there are repeats in the names. I haven't been given a clear enough explanation as to why the repeats, but I figure he has his reasons and that is good enough for me. What I am blown away by, day in and day out, is the incredible amount of imaginative play that has come from these figures. But not only the figures, the PlayMobil catalog is also part of his imaginary world. As it has been explained to me, each page of the catalog (which shows the various figures and playsets arranged in incredibly detailed scenes complete with painted backgrounds) are "chapters" of a "book" that Aidan is, essentially, writing aloud on a daily basis. He pours over these pictures and scenes with a tenacity that can only be described as admirable. Perhaps I will get him to dictate these stories to me so that we can capture the magic while it is so tangible. On the other hand, maybe their mystery is what makes his musings so very magical. I'll keep you posted.

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