Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dust off the old imagination

Why is it that we spend all of this money and effort on toys and activities for our little ones and they find the most excitement out of the free and the ordinary?

I took Fischer and BFF to meet friends at a fun new playground with all kinds of fabulous equipment. What did they love the most? The wood chips on the ground. They threw them, they tasted them, they stirred them up to "cook" with them, they lined the slides with them... fun times!

After getting to tour and "drive" the big fire truck, Fisch came home to practice climbing "ladders" the way the firemen were doing it.
I put Fisch and BFF in the bathtub with a million toys to choose from, and they fought over a plastic kitchen cup and an empty shampoo bottle!

At home he has many many toys but can spend the most time playing with the vacuum wand, yardstick, or ladle.

Do we try too hard? Do they really need all of the toys and special activities? I'd feel sorry for Fisch if he didn't have any toys... but wouldn't he just make toys out of household items? Isn't that more creative, more imaginative? Sometimes I think we lose sight of what is really important. Kids should be having fun, learning, exploring, and imagining. As Fischer's imagination has been blossoming, he likes too pretend that he has all kinds of things out of thin air. He'll hand Andy and I an invisible baby, or pay the cashier with invisible money. He pretends to be chased by invisible monsters or he looks out the window claiming there are invisible crabs on our deck.

I find that we spend the most time enjoying things that we've created. He likes to sort cereal and snacks into separate bowls. We count milk jug lids and stick them into a little slot we cut into a cottage cheese container. We practice colors by cutting magazine pictures out and sorting them on a closet door.We play hide and seek with the dogs. Fischer made a "birdhouse" out of couch cushions the other day. He also loves to use the camera tripod as a microphone and put on little shows.

I guess what I am trying to remind myself is that I don't need to get him all of the latest toys or make sure that he goes out on a million outings each week. We can relax, and stay home and enjoy each other and find new uses for all of the things that we already have!

Plus, you have to admit the less you buy... the less waste you are creating. I know that Wanda likes to make sure that all of her kids' toys are heirloom quality and imagination powered. No batteries, sturdy, and non-plastic toys.


Steve said...

Yes, even as we age, we can enjoy simple pleasures.
With all the gadgets that come with the modern automobile, my favorite by far is my right index finger, foraging for a weath of textures up my nasal openings.
And my wife likes nothing more than slapping away at me while I do it.

Jen said...

The slides at the playground are for the kids to slide down? Who knew. Avery just thought they were to hold all the woodchips on the playground. As Fischer is, she's obsessed with playing with the woodchips... but you know if I had an entire load of woodchips delivered to my house she would then be completely un-interested (is that a word.)

I've thought about the whole battery-operated toys and the need we have for them. It seems Avery just isn't interested in all the toys we have bought for her that need batteries, except for maybe her kitchen and a ride along zebra. We've wasted so much money. Really, the only things she wants to play with are the kitchen utensils and an empty medicine bottle. I guess it's good to learn this now so I won't go out and buy "stuff" for the next one just to see it suffer the same fate as all of Avery's toys.

Jen said...

Wow! I just wrote a novel!

Angela said...

We were JUST talking about this over the weekend. We moved our furniture around this week and went through Nicky's toys. Boxed up most of them and put the few left in his bedroom (it used to be the living room was totally covered in his stuff). And guess what? He hasn't pulled hardly anything out of his room, and he really doesn't even go in there to play. He climbs on all the furniture, runs around, plays with the hose from the vacuum, wrestles with daddy, plays with the dogs, etc. Why did we even get all these toys?