Mind museums
Mind museums
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
We had to get out. The walls were closing in, and despite the on-again/ off-again rain, we had to think of somewhere new to go. After some negotiations, we chose the 23rd best place in Cape Town (well, that’s what I claimed it was to the kids): The toy museum in Simonstown.

As far as museums go, it’s to be more of a private collection, but it opens a window into the past. There are toy trains, dolls, sets of soldiers and thousands of toy cars. A massive train set swishes around an elaborate track complete with tiny people forever going about village activities. A WWll scene complete with a tiny Hitler is a bit shocking, as is a model of the Lincoln JFK and Jackie Kennedy were riding in at the time of his assassination, complete with Mrs. O. in her little pink pill hat.

All the toys are behind glass cases, so it’s not particularly interactive, but the sheer range promotes lots of discussion with kids. I saw racing cars made from lead- the kind my own father had played with- and many toys from my childhood and recalled the excitement of creating wars with plastic soldiers and racetracks out of cardboard tubes.

James, who at 14 had had his doubts about going there, even said it was a great afternoon. My other children started plotting how they would paint the landscape of the train tracks with its miniature world.

As we walked outside, I asked them to imagine what it would be like to see their own toys in a museum in fifty years’ time, but together we realised the toy museum of the future would be a dull room of game consoles.

Childhood isn’t meant to be a museum. You can’t trap memories behind glass cases or even in photographs. I tried to take a few pictures of our afternoon out, but we were too busy having actual fun to keep a record of it.

On the way back to the car, we dashed out of the rain and into a vinyl record shop. Spent a few minutes explaining to the children what a record was. The gap between generations became a gulf. So we went home, and had a Playstation competition…

I kept my childhood LEGO, and my kids still play with it. I even have my old teddy bear. He’s rough around the ears, and his squeak is somewhat wheezy when you press his tummy, but he helps to guard my clothes inside the cupboard.

James is collecting gaming cards and spends time Googling auction sites to see how much they’re worth. He has the vague ambition of being a card collecting millionaire, I suspect.

Hannah keeps her favourite doll, or Middle Baby as she calls him, and Jonah carries random small toys around at different times.

We hang on to these things, but the memories hang on to us.

Why not send us a pic of your kids playing with their favourite toys? Email chatback@parent.com and you could win a R250 Kalahari.com voucher!

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