I came across this article the other day - and it just couldn't have expressed how I feel about toys any better!
As a teacher, I am faced with the daily struggles of trying to teach students that have increasingly shorter attention spans and less interest in learning and curiosity each year - a problem that I believe is partly due to our toy obsession in our country.
Children are consistently given more and more toys, and taught to value quantity, not quality. Toys that do too much work for the child, instead of making the child's imagination and creativity work. Toys where kids stand around and observe, instead of create and play. Toys that only have one way of playing with them, instead of many opportunities for open-ended creation.
It is my desire to lessen Cole's exposure to the plastic, buzzing, blinking, beeping, battery-sucking obnoxiousness that pass as toys nowadays. I don't want to deny him anything, but am I wrong in thinking that replacing toys like this:
with toys like this:
will increase his learning and development? I want him to have a childhood full of imagination and creative thinking, rather than stuff him full of mass produced plastic Walmart toys with no meaning. I want him to value his possessions, which cannot happen when he has a roomful of "toys". I want Cole to value experiences over possessions - how many of us truly remember and value every toy we were given as a gift, but how many of us truly remember the time someone spent with us? A trip to the zoo, a fishing trip, a walk to the park, a visit to the library or museum: these are the true experiences of a well-rounded childhood.
And when it does come to toys, we're hoping to keep coming back to those timeless toys that have stood the test of time: a tricycle, a wagon, story books, musical instruments, blocks, paint and puppets (or homemade wood puzzles). Toys that offer open-ended play and can be passed down to younger brothers and sisters, not thrown into a landfill.
I know Cole will eventually beg and plead for the newest "it" toy or video game...but I'm hoping to instill in him a love for experiences and memories with people you love - undivided attention and time - rather than an affection for noisy, obnoxious toys that will be forgotten in a few months' time.