A child’s desire to play is universal.

Toys help fill insatiable needs for motion, sound and fantasy. Whenever possible, attentive parents shower children with ready-made toys engineered to make them happy and stimulate developmental skills. Often, batteries are required.

Kids struggling with poverty and neglect find that toys are, sadly, at the bottom of their parents’ shopping list. But creativity rises to the top.

My work as a photojournalist has taken me around the world to capture the complex struggles of adults in conflict. Occasionally, out there on the front lines of news-gathering, I’ve been stopped in my tracks by a child’s ingenuity. I’ve seen youngsters captivated by little more than the wind, and others delighted by things that many would cast off as junk.