I was visiting one of my favorite families yesterday in Charlotte. James, 4, Sam,2 and Molly,1, are being raised on few toys and a wealth of imagination. Last time we saw them, Mom brought a small suitcase of cars that amused the boys for a few hours. I was amazed at how little she brought and how many ways they played with the toys.

This time I brought some toys that they transformed into a swimming pool for fish, a tent for their puzzle pieces and and home for some chicks. I realized that they didn’t have one of my favorite “boy toys” which is a pirate ship. I asked James if he had a pirate ship and he ran to his toy box and declared, ” Me and Sam have a pirate sword!” He pulled out a foam rubber baseball bat. “And we have another sword.” At which point he pulled out another baseball bat and shoved it up to the sky like a sword. James really gets it–there’s no limit to your toys when your house and its contents are your playground.