No Boring Toys

The NYT has an article today on toddlers and toys. The short piece mixes in a few “kids these days” moments, but I enjoyed it nevertheless because it matches up nicely with all of the gadget battles around here in recent weeks: fights for the remote control or a cell phone, tantrums over computer time (also spats over how that precious time is spent), wrestling matches for the portable DVD player. You thought I was talking about the kids?

Here are two highlights from the article.

“If you give kids an old toy camera, they look at you like you’re crazy,” said Reyne Rice, a toy trends specialist for the Toy Industry Association.

True. They do look at you like you’re crazy. But there is no mention here of the biting, pinching, and screaming that typically ensue (not with Is. or Ph. when he was young, of course, but with some kids, no doubt). The article also mentions that we can find relief from the tech-clamor just by handing the children plastic bags.

Grace, a 1-year-old in San Francisco, however, has been going through a decidedly nontechnology phase.

Recently, playtime has involved “putting little toys and dolls into bags and zipping them up,” said her mother, Tanya, who declined to give her last name. “Wouldn’t it be great if our lives were so simple?”

“Here, put your toys in this bread bag. Then take them out again. What do you mean you are bored? Why are you complaining in the midst of all this great fun? This is way better than Nickelodeon in HD.” I wouldn’t give my last name, either. Plus, aren’t plastic bags a suffocation hazard? Plus!, aren’t plastic bags a technology?

We have been moderate about exposures to technologies only to the extent that we moderate them for ourselves. Is. knows the remotes and cell phones. And rather than heading down the stairs as encouraged, it is common sport for her to dash from her room into the office where I am “working” so that she can sad-eye me into a few minutes of Muppets videos on YouTube. Possibly she thinks all of my time at the computer is spent surfing YouTube for new clips to share with her. Ah, young ones and their zany imaginations. It remains uncertain whether we will manage to hold off on the LeapFrog ClickStart My First Computer until she is three.