TOYS AND GAMES
When I was a child I didn't get any presents at Christmas. In my family the tradition was that children received money from adults. My grandad, who was the richest, gave my sister and me a big silver coin every Christmas Eve which we collected with pleasure.
I received toys on January the 5th at night. The presents were hidden all around the house by the Three Wise Men and I had to look for them. It was really thrilling! Previously I had written a letter asking for the presents I would pretend to obtain. I had to tell them about my behavior all along the year.
I specially remember, when I was six, a green eyed and red-headed doll who could do somersaults. She was obviously named “Volteretas”. Another present I was elated with was a drum. I can clearly remember the moment when I found it on a stair's step. I did played it for hours and end! And finally a toy I have happy memories of is a West Gun. It made a realistic sound when you shot it and even it produced some smoke!
When I was a child I can remember me playing all the time with my sister. We mainly used to role-play: doctors, shop-assistant, actors, teachers, families... This kind of games are creatives and you only need daily devices and common objects to play, no toys at all.
I think games and toys are not essentially different nowadays from those of three decades ago. Maybe the material is different but that's all. (As long as electronic gadgets didn't exist in those days.)
I'm afraid I must disagree with the statement “children play less than they used to”. Under my point of view they play the same time but with different toys and to different games in other places.
I would swear the most popular game nowadays are those children can play with their computers on line on the web.
About playing with adults I wouldn't recommend it. I would suggest to socialize children with their pairs, the same age or not, but specially when role-playing an adult wouldn't be better than a pair.
In conclusion, games and playing are essential for every child to grow-up and become a human being.