One day while playing with me when I was a child, my father remarked that if he printed up a board and pieces, he could make a fortune selling "battleship" for $5 a box. I scoffed. Why would someone pay money for the game when all they needed to play it was a piece of paper and pencil?
I was wrong, of course. Twenty-five years later, Battleship is a very popular game. The electronic version sells for $65.
But that's not the only game or toy you can spend money on even though previous generations improvised for free. A walk through the local toy emporium yielded the following:
1. Cotton Reels -- Plastic spools that tots can thread into a necklace using a plastic string. $6.99 (Doesn't anybody sew anymore?).
2. Stompers -- Plastic coffee can likenesses that you can walk on like short stilts. $4.49.
3. A Snowball Maker -- It looks like a pair of pliers with ice cream scoops instead of points. $7.95.
4. Hangman, the Game -- It is not a lot different from hangman, the paper and pencil. The travel version (kind of like portable pencil and paper) is $10.
And, my personal favorite:
5. Hopscotch -- It comes complete with a vinyl playing board ("foldable, washable") and four plastic throwing tokens. $5.99.