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I love to watch my kids play. They can become so consumed for hours in some kind of make believe world they have created in their minds and with their toys. It’s their imagination that I appreciate the most and it always amazes me what they come up with. I have often thought that a lack of imagination was one of the biggest problems with young people today. It seems that with all of the electronic games and computers that their imagination is being served to them rather than a product of their own minds. We try very hard to limit the amount of time our children spend on electronic media and encourage them to just play. That may mean playing in their room with their toys or going outside and playing in the yard with whatever they can find. It is very enjoyable to just sit a little out of sight but within earshot and listen to their little voices as they create a world of wonder in their minds.
A few days ago I was listening to the Man vs. Debt Podcast and heard him mention a story he had recently read on Wired.com regarding the best kids toys. In my mind I had already assumed that they would be some kind of electronic gadgetry due to the source of the article coming from Wired magazine, a very up to date technology magazine. I was pleasantly surprised to read the list and thought I would share them with you here. As a kid I would play with these five toys and others for hours and I see my kids doing the same despite the fact that they have other toys that we have paid good money for. The reality is that it seems they enjoy these toys the best.
Here is the List:
1. Stick – Yes, just a simple stick no matter what size can provide hours of fun. It’s a digger, a poker, a bridge and a sword. It’s a bat, a hockey stick, a spear and a club. Yes, they often transform into some kind of weapon, that seems to be their nature. A little parental direction helps to keep this from getting out of hand. When combined with some of the other items on the list they can become just about anything a little mind can imagine.
2. Box – I have often brought home a box for the kids to play with or when something is delivered to the house the kids get the box. When we give it to them it is like we just spent our whole paycheck on the most precious toy ever. Their eyes widen and their imagination goes wild. It becomes a car or a house or a sled or something of that nature. They make doors and windows in them and cover them with artwork. This seems to be my kids favorite.
3. String – Although we have been very cautious with giving our kids string to play with without our supervision it is one of their favorite things to play with. Our son will find little pieces and use them for tying together all sorts of thing and making altogether something completely new. We just have to be careful that it’s not his sister that he is tying, that’s the reason for the small pieces.
4. Cardboard Tube – It’s a musical instrument, a telescope, a tunnel and a bonker (a club by another name). After the paper towels or TP are done the leftover role is recycled to become one of these wonderful toys or something else that only a little brain can imagine.
5. Dirt – This is my all-time favorite toy. I spent hours upon hours as a kid making little cities in the dirt with buildings and roads and everything a city requires. We made cake and pie and chocolate milk, come on, you had to have tried it at least once didn’t you? Our kids love the dirt and although it requires a lot of cleaning since they are always covered in the stuff it is so worth it to see the fun they have playing with this great toy.
I think most of you that are reading this can relate to the truth of this list. We may have had toys as children but some of the most fun and memorable ones fit into this list or at least are very similar in nature. If only more parents would realize that these simple toys can provide so much enjoyment for our children and can help their imaginations to develop and grow. We don’t have to spend spend spend to make our children happy and balanced little people. Actually, buying and buying things for them makes them expect material things to provide their enjoyment in life. We can be balanced as parents, buy them a few good quality toys but encourage them to use the simple things listed above or some others that we come up with to create a wonderful world of fun without being or feeling deprived in any way.
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Here is a link to the original article in Wired magazine if you are interested in reading a little further.
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