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Karen Brennan
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The best toys of all time!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy holidays to all of you!  This is the last week of the fall session.  The winter session begins the week of January 7, 2014.  Hope to see you then!!!!!

As we look at the chapter  in Simplicity Parenting on environment, I wanted to share with you a summary of a blog post from Wired written by Geekdad, Jonathon Liu, entitled “The 6 Best Toys of All Time.” They are:
1.  Stick
2. Box
3. String
4. Cardboard tube
5. Dirt
6. Water

He also mentions that the fun is increased exponentially when these toys are combined.  This is a humorous article, but as with the best humor, there is a lot of truth in it.  Kim Payne writes that the number of toys your child sees, and has access to should be dramatically reduced.  I know that many of you have done this already.  I find that it is an ongoing process.  We don’t have so many children’s toys around our house these days, but we still manage to accumulate a lot of stuff, even with fairly regular purges.

Our motivations for giving toys, and the motivations of those who give our children toys, are generous and come from love and from wanting our children to have everything we can give them.  But, Kim says, “The attribution of creativity has shifted away from children, who come by it quite naturally, to the efforts of executives in toy company boardrooms who claim the power to “develop” and “stimulate” creativity.  An overemphasis on toys co-opts and commercializes play, making it no longer a child’s natural world but rather one that’s dependent on adults, and the things they provide, to exist.” 

What were your favorite toys to play with when you were a child?  I have observed the joy of so many children who find a stick or some other natural treasure during their outdoor adventures.  Often, these things are soon forgotten, although not always, but expensive toys are also often forgotten, perhaps after some initial excitement.  I remember as a child loving to find beautiful, to me, stones.  I remember looking for them whenever I was out.  I also remember my parents giving me a beautiful set of minerals which were glued to a card with descriptions of each stone underneath.  I remember peeling the stones off of the paper so I could enjoy holding them.  What children really need to develop their imagination is not specific toys, but rather time, “plenty of open-ended time, and mental ease.  As you decrease the quantity of your child’s toys and clutter, you increase their attention and their capacity for deep play.

I wish all of you a holiday season and new year filled with  an abundance of time, deep play and joy!
Happy new year!