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Monday, October 27, 2008

Toy Soldiers



A couple days ago I purchased a number of toy knights, and I've been enjoying playing with them. I was thinking about toy knights, and toy soldiers, and thought I'd share my thoughts with you.

Over the ages, countless boys have played with toy soldiers. There have been hundreds of types of figures of all different materials, from handpainted metal, to cheap factory made plastic. What is it about a toy soldier that appeals to a boy? Well, as a boy myself, I might have some insights.
First, it is appealing because it gives you control over the men. You can move them where you want. You can make them look like you want.

Second, they appeal to the war-like nature which is present in all boys. It is more prevalent in some, but it's there in all. There is an urge to fight, to participate in battle, and most of all, (of course) to win.

So what are the benefits of playing with toy soldiers? You can learn a lot about warfare by using toy figures. You can see why a flanking move is successful, how useful artillery can be, and how long-range weapons compare to short-range weapons. You can also learn how problematic communication can become on a hectic battlefield.

Another benefit is that it enables us to reenact the battles of the past. While reading a dry textbook might be boring, who wouldn't want to go explore how army A successfully manouvered around army B, by acting it out with army men?

Anyway, that's what I think about toy soldiers. What do you think?

~John

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