When I was going to first become a grandparent, it had been many years since I had been shopping for toys. By that time, even the youngest cousin had hit the double digit age of ten. I don’t know what I expected, but I must admit I was taken aback in discovering just how many toys required batteries and made noise. In some cases, the only way to stop the annoying sounds was to remove the batteries. I even recall going into a store and asking to be directed to the quiet toy aisle. I was met with a blank expression and a shrug.
This observation zoomed me back to the time that one of you received that irritating rabbit—the one which skated to the song “Easter Parade.” Dad and I realllllly hated that bunny!
I have been out in the world and noticed how many young children are plugged into some sort of electronic gadget, and I find that to be quite disturbing. As someone who had earned a living in the computer industry, before practically everyone in American had one, I appreciate the convenience and marvel at what they can do. However, when it comes to children and toys, there is something to be said for simplicity.
Children have vivid imaginations and can enjoy playtime with simple toys. I remember babysitting for a neighborhood boy, and I was worried since I had no toys at that time. But he happily spent the entire visit playing with the pots and pans in my cabinet.
My Tupperware nesting measuring cups and spoons are quite entertaining to a toddler, and I have spent many hours under my kitchen table with a snack, flashlight, and a game of good old fashioned Candy Land. Hide and seek never gets tiresome except to me, and bubbles, chalk, and coloring books are quite fun as well.
While I admit to sometimes turning on the television mostly for “Grandma rest time,” I think I am doing quite well with quiet entertainment without batteries, which are also a lot better for the environment when you consider the need to eventually dispose of them. I am not saying no to all television, by the way. I look forward to watching the classic Charlie Brown shows and Disney movies that we all enjoyed together with my grandchildren.
But I am going to see how long I can go before caving into progress. Is this old fashioned? I would argue not, because I truly believe that too much electronic engagement with children not only squashes the imagination, but it also stifles socialization.
Any thoughts from the kindergarten teacher of the family?