Monday, March 15, 2010

Open-ended toys

In a world where our children are losing their ability to imagine due to video games, too much TV time, and a general lack of quality mental stimulation, we (my DH and I) are attempting to raise our child in a different way.
I grew up in the country. We didn't have a ton of toys. We didn't have the Internet, video games or frequent the movie theater. And yet the words "I'm bored" were hardly ever uttered in our household. There were bugs to catch, dolls to care for, acres to explore and gardens to tend to. Our imaginations ran rampet in the woods behind our home.
What we did have were play clothes that consisted of things that no longer fit my parents, things that were stained or out dated, old prom dresses and things from the '70's. Dolls of different kinds, everything from Barbie to cabbage patch to handmade and passed down. We had a kitchen set and a play house that my Dad and Grandfather built. We had the best kind of childhood.
Now, I want this for our child. We want to use what are called "open-ended" toys. Things like a basket. One day it is a boat for a doll, the next day a bath tub for a teddy bear, the next it is a cave and then back again to basket to help Momma pick vegetables from the garden.

~Dolls with clothes, hair things, and blankets
~building blocks or Lincoln Logs or Lego's
~art supplies
~scraps of fabric
~silk scarves
~play clothes
~baskets, boxes and bowls
~balls of different colors and sizes
~play dough or clay
~Hackie sacks
~card board boxes
~kitchen sets including pots, pans and "fake foods"
~a tub of rice or sand with funnels, measuring cups, spoons and scoops of different sizes

These are some great examples of options that can be entertaining, educational, and imagination boosters all at the same time. Things that require thought and ingenuity. Not just something that entertains them and little else.
The best "open-ended" toy is nature itself. Leaf and stick races in the creek. Wolly worms and butterflies to watch. Rocks and sticks to build with.
I am looking forward to watching her learn and grow and become an imaginative little girl. I am looking forward to sharing with her the things I myself did as a child. Hours spent together in make believe worlds while learning about our own, magical world that the Lord created just for us to explore and enjoy.
To this day I still have a great imagination. I love to do crafts and play with simple things like building blocks. I want to relive my childhood though her. Through the eyes of my child.

1 comment:

  1. It is so wonderful that people are going going back in time so to speak with child rearing. Less television and more playtime that truly helps them grow! Open ended gifts is a great idea!