Peter’s birthday is tomorrow… Saturday! Happy Birthday Peter! Continue reading
Ryan and John are busy in their second semester at school. John has a great job at Wal-Mart. They love him there. Ryan is busy studying to beat his high marks during his first semester. Continue reading
Toys are for fun, for happily occupied kids and for adults not-so-secretly reliving a carefree childhood. They are for shared moments and for learning about things without being aware of learning.
There are extremes in our approach to buying toys for babies and children. Some parents are as childlike as their offspring, buying too many things because they can afford to have what wasn’t available twenty years ago. They may also think that exciting, electronic toys are effective baby minders, buying them some peace, if not the quiet! Others see toys as serious tools in the hothouse challenge, every toy carefully chosen to give their child the educational edge. There are dangers in both approaches. One can teach children to be easily bored and greedy with little respect for the value of possessions, and the fiercely educational approach can add stress and disappointment when the child fails to respond. Even if we are not nurturing a prodigy, there are so many experts telling us which toys a baby should have, suddenly toys aren’t for fun any more.
Life without toys at all is quite possible, it is well documented that babies and children are capable of finding fun in the most simple household objects. But that is unnecessarily harsh when there are so many wonderful reasonably priced toys available. The key is to strike a happy medium. Enough toys for fun, excitement and education. Enough quiet and space and opportunites for children to use their imagination and learn how to be content without constant stimulation.
Contented babies are asleep for more time than they are awake and when they do open their eyes, they need to begin making sense of what they see. To start with, the whole world is a basket of toys, a continuous interactive video game full of amazing images. And the best toys are already there. Hands, toes, Mummy’s face, Daddy’s nose. A bunch of shiny keys. When babies can sit up and move about it might be shoes by the front door, pots and pans and wooden spoons.
To a baby, everything is a toy to be tasted, touched and shaken about. It isn’t until babies become toddlers that they become aware of toys as possessions. Then, from about eighteen months, toys are there to be snatched and shared, broken and cried over. Toys become tools to help little people practice the rules of social life in a safe environment.
When you choose toys for your baby or child, try to match the toys to their stage of development and leave plenty of room for imagination. Read the sections on buying for babies and toddlers for some ideas and suggestions. Look at the toy safety page for further information.
When choosing between traditional toys and modern toys, balance the merits of each and choose a variety for your child. There will be a place for both in the toy box at any age. You will probably find that the more complicated the toy, the more it needs batteries, replacement parts, and the more it relies on fashionable trends, the more likely it is to be quickly broken or discarded. A box of brightly coloured bricks will still be played with 12 years on (my children are proof of this) whereas a highly technical battery operated educational toy will be landfill before long.
Kris is in the software business. Paul has graduated college and loves to write poetry.
Lisa is married to Pete. Together they have a daughter, Amanda. Pete has two children from his first marriage, Peter Jr. and Elizabeth. Pete Sr. runs his own glass business and Lisa works at the local high school. Amanda graduated high school, finished serving five years with the Navy and is headed to college full time. Peter Jr. is a merchant marine. He travels on the great oceans either serving on a cruise ship or some other top secret ship. Elizabeth (Lizzy) is married to Dominick and they have four children, Dom Jr and Anthony. Lizzy is a stay at home mom and Dominick is NYC fireman. Dom Jr. likes to watch Sesame Street videos.
Zivko is married to Debbie. Zivko is a jewelry designer and manufacturer and Debbie is a buyer for a clothing store. They have one child, Adam. Adam is enrolled in college and enjoying his young years.