i-pad, i-phone, remote control car/helicopter/boat, electronic toy that goes wirrrr, wirrr, zipity, wiz-bang, a doll that can actually poo…
How do you entertain children? These days, toyshops seem to want you to believe your little one doesn’t just want the latest toy; they NEED it. Without Zorgog, warrior from the planet Yolenta-5, your boy may not develop properly. Deny my daughter little miss princess play set; complete with car, boat, plane and Chad, the personal groomer doll, and she may just end up standing in a soup kitchen line.
Let me say firstly, I want my daughter to be technology aware. She will be living in a world where connection is not only necessary, it’s unavoidable. School age kids can now enter their assignments online. Some schools have i-pads or laptops in classes. Withholding technology from my daughter may, in fact, be detrimental to her development. If every other kid has been able to upload, download, back-up and reboot since they were 2 – and she doesn’t know this stuff, it will come back and ‘byte’ her in a nanosecond.
But – it’s not the only thing I want Missy to be savvy in. Good old-fashioned ‘fun’ also has an important place in her development. Playing with Mum and Dad, with little friends or playing without toys that require batteries or megabytes, surely must help little brains develop.
What’s my expertise for that statement? What degree do I have, or studies have I done, to make such an outrageous statement?
The University of common sense. For me, it’s all about moderation. A bit of everything just stands to reason. Missy LOVES the i-pad, and she gets to play with it. Not all day, but enough to give her a working knowledge of it. But my wife and I also want Missy to have an inquiring mind. We want her to be able to create fun – without needing an App.
So what’s one of her favourite thing to do? She loves to play in her little cubby house, and serve tea in her cardboard shop. And where did these toys come from? Mum.
Mum made them, out of refrigerator boxes, toilet roll holders, masking tape, paint and love. Not everyone has the talent to make these kinds of things (especially me), but it’s not about that. For us, it’s about getting something in our house where we can interact with Missy; she can play ‘off-line’ and have some fun making pretend pizza for dad, and invisible tea for mum.
Missy had tears the other day. She was in her shop, and I was busy ‘buying’ plastic fruit and veg. I needed a break, so I asked her for a coffee. Missy was quite understanding, and so got out the impossibly small tea set and set about “making” me a cup. She knocked over the pretend milk jug, and the tears flowed. Where was the pretend ‘fridge to get more? “Over there my darling”, I said, pointing to an empty corner.
Happy again, she went over, ‘filled up’ her milk and duly made me my coffee.
The amazing world of a child’s imagination – you can’t download that.