Most of the time, even when people are having a difficult time meeting their bills, the toy stores seem to have customers buying toys for their children.
But, do children really need toys? Fisher-Price would have us believe that they do as most of their toys are marked Educational.
On the plus side, they do teach children about the world around them which can lead to developing their social and cognitive skills. On the negative side, they can stymie their creativity.
We have seen children learn about household appliances through their toys. We have seen them learn how to recognize shapes, sizes, sounds, numbers, and letters of the alphabet by playing with certain toys. But we have also seen them develop lazy thinking patterns and the tremendous need to be entertained by playing with their toys.
In some ways, children from poor families have the advantage. If the children don’t have many toys and their parents don’t use the television set as a babysitter, the children learn how to take pleasure from the simple things and not crave the things they don’t have.
Look at the children who learn how to entertain themselves by playing with pots and pans. Mothers have been known to empty their kitchen cabinets to let their children play with plastic colanders, spoons, measuring cups, and a variety of colorful, safe objects.
While they are playing with these kitchen items, they are also talking to them, carrying on conversations with them, and making up stories. They are using their creativity and developing that side of themselves; they are learning to think outside of the box.
I don’t object to toys; I think many of them help a child to develop their small and large muscles and to enjoy the learning process. What I object to is the vast array of toys that take the place of children learning how to figure things out for themselves and how to entertain themselves.
If parents can learn moderation and not give in to the temptation to buy every new toy that catches their eye, and if they can make their children learn about life by living it instead of being entertained by it, they will develop into well-rounded adults who can think for themselves and find happiness in what they have.