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Modern Toys And The Downfall Of Imagination

May 19, 2008
When you think of children's toys, what first comes to mind? The chances are that it will be the toys that are around in shops today. Bright, colourful plastic creations with lights and buttons; toys that talk, eat, wee or tell you stories. But if this isn't the picture that comes to mind, then the chances are that you'll be taken back to the older days when toys were much simpler, and the only lights were those in the eyes of eager children, their imaginations fired up with just a handful of bricks. Remember the toy cars that you could push along, and that didn't have lights, sound effects, or a controller you could use to drive it? No more sitting on a chair watching the car whizz about - you were down there on the floor, on your hands and knees, tearing up and down the room making the sound effects yourself.

It's easy for the older generation to hark back to 'the good old days' when toys were simpler, and you had to use your imagination. It is also easy to assume that today's children don't have to use their imaginations as much, because it's all done for them, and that this is somehow having a detrimental effect on their well being, their understanding of the world, and their own health and fitness.

But what is also easy to do is to assume that the new toys we see are replacing the older ones, or that the games children play are replacing the ideas and concepts that we used to enjoy. In fact, if you watch children play, you'll be surprised how similar the games are. So you remember pushing a toy car along the floor on your hands and knees? In what way is that better than sitting on a chair and using a radio controller to drive the car about? It's hard to argue the case on the basis of health and fitness, and when it comes to motor controls and spatial awareness, the manoeuvring of a car around furniture when it is heading rapidly in various directions not directly parallel with the way you're facing can surely be argued as more educational?

It is also important to bear in mind the amount of time children spend with various toys. My little boy has a mountain of electronic gadgets that do amazing things. Some of the batteries have run down. He hasn't noticed yet - he still enjoys playing with them, often making his own sounds. The interactive teddy bear that waves, shakes his head and talks (which I find a little scary at times) is certainly prodded and poked to make him react, but equally he is quite content sitting with the non-interactive creatures having a tea party, or being dressed in odd outfits that the designers never dreamed of.

At the end of the day, children create their own games, whatever you throw at them. Children are just as happy given an interactive toy as they are a static one, and given a couple of cardboard boxes they are equally at home sailing round the world, flying into space and becoming a robot. Perhaps it is us, not our children, who have lost the ability to imagine ways of using today's toys in magical ways.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about kids toys, dolls, and video games. You will find the best marketplace for kids toys, dolls, and used video games at these sites for kids toys, interactive toys, bricks, dolls, and used video games.
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