written by: Anne Moorehead at www.shopmytoybox.blogspot.com
Do you remember the days of putting on play clothes and going out to play? I remember climbing trees, throwing rocks into ponds, playing hide n seek, red rover, war & house! We road our bikes everywhere! What happened to those days? Ok, I know there are more crazies out there now or we just know more about them!
Did you realize that our children are no longer in charge of their own play? TV, video games, the computer etc. are in charge! It’s all adult dictated play. Look at the sports teams our kids are on. Look at the video games, they are programmed by adults! The child is just responding and the brain is being manipulates and does what the adult wants.
Ok, I’m the first to admit it; we watch TV, play video games & use the computer. I’m not saying stop it all right now! What I am saying is that as parents and caregivers it is our job to put the TV, video games & computer into perspective. We need to make sure our children are using their brains. Put them back in charge of their play and use their imaginations!
Did you know that children now spend 30+ hours in front of computer or TV a week?
Most of the toys out there are media based and licensed toys. These toys are usually single purpose toys that tell our kids how to play! Licensed toys tell children how to play. By doing that a child’s imagination, creativity and ability to discover creative problem solving, all things that are needed to be successful in school and life is undermined! Memorizing doesn’t teach them to think. Floor time, play time open ended play, this teaches them how to think! (From Diane Levin who wrote Remote Control Childhood) Did you know with them watching too much TV they are being trained to be consumers (think of any of those darn commercials when it gets close to the holidays that after seeing your child says oh I want that!) instead of thinkers.
SO, how have the U.S. products industry responded to this “lack of free play” in our children?
Did you know that 80% of the toys on the market are electronic? Even in the infant and toddler age group? Scary with this being the prime time for learning!
Look at the top 5 toys sold 2009 holiday season:
#1 Zu Zu pets! (Wouldn’t it teach responsibility if it was a real hamster?)
#2 Dora the explorer links doll that hooks up to computer (wouldn’t a real doll to dress up and play with stimulate their minds and imagination a little more?)
#3 any video game console (wii, playstation etc) (do I really want to give more reason to sit in front of TV?)
#4 Super Mario Brothers (yep we have it too)
#5 Mind flex
So what’s a parent to do? There’s not a lot of choice on the shelves out there. I was shocked when I found all this out! Shocked that this was the truth and shocked when I looked around my house! Like I said, I’m the first to admit that we are plugged in! Well, I think it’s time to pull the plug! I’m not saying to get rid of everything, but I’m saying moderation! I hope you’ll join me in this struggle, for lack of a better word because it will be! We need to provide them with toys that are open ended! Like something as basic as blocks!
Here’s what I want you to know. There are options out there. We just have to look a little harder for some of them. What I am doing is trying to be part of the solution and help you be too.
How? Well, I have a secret weapon that I want to share with you. No this is not a shameless plug, well, not intentionally, please stay with me here.
There’s a 4 point advantage I want you to know about.
1. Kid powered
2. Layers of learning
3. They are safe
4. Of highest quality
Kid Powered: Object play is critical for future success, learning thru hands on teaches more than worksheets and just being spoken to. They can then create & look at things from different perspectives. They can memorize that 5x2=10 but they can’t tell ya why! Kid Power = Brain Power!
Layers of Learning: it grows with the child, helps to strengthen and teach multiple skills, self esteem & confidence thru developing motor skills, reading and language, thinking & expression. Multiple learning styles Auditory (sound), Kinesthetic (touch & movement) & Visual (sight). Bilingual & trilingual!
They Are Safe: Higher than government and industry standards! If product is deemed unsafe for 1 child it is unsafe for all children & will not be sold on this line!
Of Highest Quality: our manufacturers must PROVE they are using the highest quality of materials!
What or who out there has this 4 point advantage? DISCOVERY TOYS! They have a lifetime guarantee on all their toys! NEVER had a safety recall in the 32 years they have been around! Children are first! Family is first! A company that actually gives a you know what about yours and my children!
Discovery Toys motto: Teach. Play. Inspire. Is not a gimmick to get you to buy their product.
Everything we do is about the child learning thru play! We are in a crisis to save & build our children’s minds!
Here’s what I want you to do. Find a toy that is open ended (like blocks). Sit back and watch them play. See what they do. Don’t start out with the “right way” to play with a toy. Let them learn and explore. You might just be surprised at what you learn too!
Thanks for sticking it out with me! Now, go and spend some time and play with your kids. They are your best investment!
If you would like to learn more about the fantastic learning toys that Discovery Toys offers go to www.playsmartstore.com.
If you would like help with choosing the right toy(s) for your own unique child please feel free to contact me either thru the web site or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Educational Leader, Discovery Toys