When I was a kid, I favored toys that let me imagine. I loved hot wheels and Weebles (who doesn't love a toy that doesn't fall down?) more than dolls. As I got older, I played with action figures from popular movies (though I didn't have all of the cool ones in this video!) more than the Weebles. But I still made up entire worlds in the yard or the house that went beyond the world of the figures.
Even without the toys, I spent hours imagining with my friends: we imitated our favorite shows and movies (even if we didn't exactly get what the songs were about!). Often we went off script and made sequels that were much better than the ones that played in the theaters.
These moments are so easy to forget because they were just so much a part of the day to day. In fact, I hadn't thought of them in years until I went to the Philip Exeter Academy's Writers' Workshop. During that fabulous week-long program , one of the guest speakers led us through an extended freewriting activity. I literally had 8 or more type-written pages of freewriting, and one of the things that came up for me was the times I spent playing with Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars in the dirt.
Most people probably have memories of playing in the dirt, but where I grew up in Louisiana, the dirt piles were epic. The neighborhood where I lived was built on a filled in swamp. Thus, every few years, part of maintaining the property involved buying and spreading a dump truck load of fill dirt in the yard. People chipped in and helped neighbors move the dirt, or volunteered their teen-aged kids to do it), and often lent wheelbarrows, rakes, and shovels. For the under 10 set, the dirt pile became a massive playground. Our Hot Wheels adventures now included perilous mountains, tunnels, and epic crashes, complete with cars tumbling down the dirt mountain.
From the memory of these experiences, I wrote a little short story called "Drivers Wanted." I'm not usually a short story writer, but Cahaley, one of the instructors, asked us to try to write a story from the point of view of an inanimate object. So, I wrote from the car's point of view. At some point, I want to go back to that story and polish it. I need more kicks in the butt to do this sort of creative work.
 I absolutely, positively highly recommend that workshop. It's $1000 for a week, but that includes room, board, the workshop, and meals. It's a phenomenal deal and I will probably go back one summer in the future for a fresh kick in the creative pants. Seriously. Look into it. Do it.