Thursday, December 29, 2011

Electronic Toys

I hate them.

My three-year-old loves pushing buttons (literally and figuratively---tee hee).   The same ones...over and over.   The few electronic toys we have are reserved for the car, because it's already a bit noisy in there with the radio, babbling or crying kids, and traffic noise.

Why do I hate electronic toys so much?

For one, they are expensive to purchase and to up-keep.  Batteries are horrible for the environment, and they cost a lot of money.

For another, they annoy me.   I can't stand hearing the same noise over and over and over.  

Some argue that electronic toys teach kids letters, numbers, shapes, etc.   Well, there are other ways (ways we had to learn when we were kids) to learn that require more parent-to-child interaction (which is a good thing!).

I get that the world is full of electronics; however, I own very few of them.  I don't use my phone for Internet access (and in fact, I have a very non-fancy phone), I don't own a laptop, a Nook or Kindle, an IPAD or ITOUCH (I do have an old IPOD for working out).  We have a minimal-cable package, one that is required to have a DVR.   We only have two televisions in our home (one in the living room and one in the basement by my exercise space), and only one phone (a land line for emergencies).    I own a PC and have no plans to convert to anything smaller.  We don't own any gaming systems.  (I'm also that mom who doesn't let my kids watch more than 30 min of TV a day, and only movies or channels, like PBS, with limited commercials to avoid conditioning them to want the things I know are bad for them).     The few electronic toys we have do not have batteries in them, except for the car toys which already came with batteries.   

I want my girls to understand and be familiar with the pleasure of a library book in their hands.   I want them to enjoy playing together instead of separately on personal electronic devices.  I want them to self-occupy with art supplies, not a baby laptop.   I want them to utilize a pad of paper and a pen at the doctor's office instead of my cell phone.   

It's just me, really.  I know I'm not the norm.   Shrug.

I'm a college writing teacher, and it seems that so many students are increasingly lacking in the creativity department.    Generating ideas is like pulling teeth.    It's sad, really.

Here goes my old lady voice...back when I was a child, we played outside for fun.  My brother, sister, and I spent hours in the swimming pool, riding bikes, and making mud pies under the tree house.   If we were indoors, we played with Barbies and Legos and Playmobile.   We had tons of art supplies.  I had an eraser collection (Lisa Frank, baby!).   We colored.  We wrote and performed plays.    The possibilities were endless.

I want to fight to give my girls the same opportunities to think for themselves.    I want them to occupy themselves and each other with creative play.     I adore the stage my three-year-old is in.  Just today she took a cardboard insert from the lunchbox she got for Christmas and put it around her waist.  She hopped in my bed and said, "I'm on an airplane, and here is my seat belt."   She's so creative.   The other day she was in her sister's Cozy Coupe car and put a magazine on top of it.  She then exclaimed, "Look mom!  It's a pizza car!"  

Kids really can think and occupy themselves.  We adults just have to get out of the way and give them the chance.    Oh, and stop buying them toys that tell them WHAT or HOW to think about the world. 

There is beauty in simple things.


  1. My husband is a professional geek and we have way more tech stuff in our house than I would like. But my kids are completely unaware that they can play games on our phones. They don't use the computers or have any sort of gaming system. I heard too many moms complaining about fighting with their kids to get them to leave the Wii/computer/cell phones alone and decided we just wouldn't put them in our kids hands in the first place.

  2. Amen! I am 100% on the same page as you.

  3. E doesn't have many electronic toys. She does have a piano that she loves to dance to and play on, and a dvd player for road trips, and a few little people toys that make some noise. She got some great toys for Christmas..our favorites include a fancy but tin tea set, wooden fishing and bug catching game, a bike, and little people.

    It's funny that you put electronics in car... That would drive me crazy! :)

    I am not completely opposed to electronics. I see little children at work who cannot manipulate a mouse or get around on a keyboard, and and those are very important skills to know.

    Moderation is key.


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