I have so much to learn about playing with action figures. It is nothing like playing with dolls or even playing any other kind of pretend play that I’ve ever played. Rich chose to play action figures tonight. I had picked up two little ninja action figures. I excitedly attached a sword to the hand of each of the ninjas while I waited for Rich to come play. Playing with action figures was much different from what I had expected. Having never played with action figures, I assumed that they would just have some kind of sword fight together but I learned quickly how involved this type of play can be. I stabbed Rich’s ninja instantly but then Rich said that every ninja has a story and he launched into a long story about his ninja. It was a great story and his story ended as he came upon my “blue knight” as he called it. I joined into the story but I clearly had no idea how rough this game can be. Rich started to slam his ninja into mine and the game became quite rough. He was really trying to kill my ninja and I was hoping that the two ninjas would become friends after a good sword fight. I thought maybe they would join ninja forces and take on any enemies that they happened to see along the way. (After the game we talked about this and Rich reminded me that there would not be any other enemy ninjas because only two ninjas came in the package.) Details!!!! At one point, after Rich hit my ninja and its sword went flying across the room, Rich got my ninja away from me and had a dialogue between the two ninjas. I sat there watching the two ninjas have a fight to the death. I commented about how things were getting really violent and Rich informed me that there had to be action if you play with action figures. I had said that my ninja was an acrobatic, stealth, ninja but I guess doing somersaults isn’t quite the same type of action that one plays when playing with “action” figures. When I mentioned to Rich that I had never played with action figures before, his only response was “I can tell.”
After learning that “action” meant killing the other ninja in any way possible, I started to really go after Rich’s ninja. I got it away from him and tossed his green ninja down. Rich informed me that he was dead; although he died an admirable death. I begged to differ and said that we should just throw him into the ocean. Rich suggested we burn him. That actually sounded neat. I became curious what they would look like if we melted them. I suggested the microwave but noticed that they had little screws holding the legs together. We talked of taking them apart. I used to love to take things apart when I was a kid and apparently Rich used to like to melt the Army men he played with. (My brother used to burn his Army men too. I thought it was just something odd that my brother did but apparently it wasn’t so unusual). I was ready to go find a screw driver when Rich said “no, we might want to play with these again.” Rich saved the ninjas lives!!!
Our play tonight made me realize why there are times that kids do things that can get them into big trouble, such as burning things, taking things apart, or altering their toys in some other way. When Rich and I started to play, it was a simple game of action figures; however, our thoughts of actually wrecking these toys was something that occurred out of pure curiosity. We went from playing with the toys to wondering what was inside them and what would happen if we heated them. Would they could change shape or make weird noises (as Rich’s army men used to years ago). I bought these two ninjas at the dollar store today, I was looking for something cheap to play with but these toys held up amazingly well (with the exception of one of the swords staying in the green one’s hand) considering how hard we played with them tonight.
I loved playing with the action figures with Rich but what I loved the most was watching him play with both of the ninjas. I saw a side of him that I had never seen before and he was totally immersed in all of it. Watching him use his imagination and using his entire body moving the ninjas around during their fight was so incredible. After we had stopped playing together, I handed him both ninjas and asked if he wanted to play with them again. I really wanted to watch him all over again. I’m pretty sure that I laughed more tonight than I have since we started playing together daily.