My favourite toy was meccano – metal meccano. It has meant that I, as an adult, can construct IKEA furniture.
A meccano set was a perfectly packed box of miniature engineering parts, and a coloured glossy book of very desirable models to construct – trucks, racing cars, cranes, moon buggys! Always, you started construction, and discovered several pieces of construction down the line, that you had put in something upside down, or with the wrong length axle – and there was no alternative. You had to unscrew the nuts, loosen the grub screws, until you got to the part in need of replacement.
(See what I mean by IKEA skills)
Later in meccano life it became using the construction skills honed on set models to attach motors scavenged from other toys. Batteries, elastic drive bands, and lo and behold, the creation of machines that could move themselves, on the ground, or even along washing lines.
You learn patience, and that back-tracking from a dead end is not the disaster it always seems at the time to be. And that no matter how good you get, you will always get something wrong. You can live with that.
And you realise, perhaps at a time when you were not expecting it, that you have picked up a whole host of useful skills that, in a new context, are invaluable. You have been prepared for challenges you did not know were coming.
And this time, I don’t mean IKEA furniture!