Creativity, Out of Necessity……Toys, Housewares, and the FIFA World Cup

My children lack imagination.

Now I mean them no disrespect.  My boys are smart and funny and resourceful.  But when it comes to the good old-fashioned, nitty-gritty, sock-puppet type of imagination, they are sorely lacking.  And depending on your age and where you live……your children may be lacking imagination as well.

When I was a girl, 40 plus years ago, before the advent of the Barbie Dream House, Barbie and Ken had digs built from imagination.

My girlfriends and I would pretend that mom’s slippers were brightly colored and fluffy beds.  And since all of the TV couples (except those progressive Bradys) slept in separate beds in those days, it seemed natural that Barbie and Ken should each sleep in their own personal slipper.

Barbie and Skipper dined at a cardboard table, carefully cut from the shoe box from my new school shoes.  Cause back then, boxes were a hot commodity for the kid crowd.  The right size box became a house for dolls, and a really big box became a house for us!  We built cars and club houses and we even made a make-believe refrigerator from the box for a refrigerator.

Kids and their tin-can telephone, courtesy of

Kids and their tin-can telephone, courtesy of  Just click on the photo to check out their site.

With two tin cans and some twine, we made the most excellent telephone. With bigger paint or coffee cans and that same twine, we made the most excellent (but a wee bit dangerous) stilts.


But alas, my children have had very limited experience with that type of creativity……the creativity born out of necessity.


My children have never hit a ball with a broom stick……because my children have always had a bat.

My children have never made a puppet from an old sock, because they sell actual sock puppets in the store.

But creativity out of necessity isn’t only about toys…..and it isn’t only about the kids.

Many years ago, when Joe and I moved into our first apartment, I talked with Joe’s mom about the challenges of setting up a home on a limited budget.  She asked me if there were housewares that I still needed and I told her that I desperately needed a rolling pin.  Days earlier, I told her, I had mixed up the ingredients for cookie-cutter sugar cookies, only to realize that I lacked the ability to roll the dough.

She smiled knowingly and said, “you know that there are rolling pins all around you.”  Kindly, she did not add the words “Silly Girl.”

She opened the kitchen cabinet and removed a drinking glass, placed that glass on its side on the counter and began rolling it back and forth under both of her palm.  She looked at me and raised her eyebrows.

Out of necessity……creativity.

But in our modern world, it seems that we flex those particular imagination muscles less and less.

Watching the World Cup this week, we Americans may wonder why soccer is such an international craze.  Now here in the USA, my children did play soccer.  And they played on well groomed fields, with state-of-the-art nets and they wore cleats made for soccer and shin guards  approved by NOCSAE, the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment.

But soccer is also played outside of this place.  Soccer, or futbol, is played in most of the countries on this earth.

Soccer is played on city streets and in suburban parks.  Soccer is played in farmlands and in the mountains and even in the rain forests.  The rich play and the poor play. While it may be hard to fathom, soccer is played in places where they don’t have a National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment.

Because out of necessity……..



So this summer, let’s flex those imagination muscles.

Make a sock-puppet or two with your kids.  Build a puppet theater from an old box.  Try those tin-can telephones….they really work.  But use caution with those tin-can stilts…..they are definitely NOT NOCSAE approved!


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About Lisa

Lisa has two active blogs on Wordpress. Views from the RoofTop started as a blog space to share about crafting and using repurposed materials to make useful housewares and about my craft shop's mascot, RoofTop Chalie, the repurposed racing greyhound. It has evolved into a space to also share about the things in life that intrigue and inspire me. GAMES GAMES GAMES started because people asked Lisa to share many of the silly and fun games that are staples at her holiday parties.
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7 Responses to Creativity, Out of Necessity……Toys, Housewares, and the FIFA World Cup

  1. I so agree, and I think most of the lack of imagination has to do with technology. I was actually pondering this thought the other day. I even find myself getting wrapped up in this, and I was a kid who played in a fort made out of old pallets and wood scraps LOL On The Upcycle helps my imagination muscle flex, and I am always looking at things in a different way!

  2. says:

    Get writing that book   !!!!!

  3. Chris says:

    Lisa, this blog certainly brought back memories. I think we kept appliance boxes that we scavenged until the cardboard was so soft it collapsed on top of us. We even cut holes for windows and drew curtains with crayons. Always look forward to your writings.

  4. Cristi G. says:

    I totally agree with you and have written myself along these same lines!
    Our power was out for a few hours last night and I was faced with a preschooler that had no idea how to play with things that didn’t have a power cord. It scared me! Reading your post is really quite timely for me, thanks!

    • We are all guilty of letting our children be entertained by electronics a little too often. I have some goals for my family this summer on that front. We’ll see how it goes! I took a quick look at your blog…..very nice! .

  5. kaskamaryna says:

    Love your blog!
    Just musing about making and play… I’m not sure that kids really lack imagination – it’s there, just needs room. And their world is so different from when we were making-do with shoe boxes – as ours was from our parents’ and grandparents’. My son is nine and I still marvel at the things kids do in the school ground – improvising with what they find. That’s a lovely video with the boy making a plastic bag football, interesting that it comes care of (and produced, directed, created) by Adidas- have you seen this one from 2007?

    Keep making!

    • Thanks for sharing the video! I have seen other videos with kids making balls from disposable plastic grocery bags and every one amazes me! One of these weekends I am going to commit some time and make my own!

      And you are right that every generation has different experiences and expresses creativity differently. And like you, I also marvel at the spark and innovated thinking of the youngsters in my life!

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