Are baby toys really needed?
We have so many toys in our house, we didn’t buy any of them, people gave them as gifts or we got them as hand-me-downs. The toys are wonderful, all bright and colourful; yet my baby would still rather play with a clean cloth nappy.
He of course still plays with the toys, sometimes he gets keenly interested in one and plays with it for ages. The thing I’ve noticed but, is that the attention to toys seem to be because that’s what I gave him to play with; if I hand him a towel he gives it the same attention.
This isn’t surprising of course, it is far from news; I am sure many of us have given a kid a toy only to watch them play with the box it came in, or the paper it was wrapped in instead.
Naturally this has led me to think about toys and why we have them. One reason is that they are designed to appeal to kids and are intended to help them learn about our world in a safe controlled manner. Another reason is that toys provide a way for kids to play in our world without wrecking our stuff, because lets face it a kid playing with a toy tea set is better than them wrecking our fine china. The other reason is so they can learn about ownership, these are the babies things, and these are mine.
I am not suggesting we shouldn’t have toys, they definitely play an important role in a child’s life, and I know as an adult it is easier to play with a child when I have a toy that helps me interact in a playful way. This is just a reflection of the reason we have toys, so next time I go to play with my baby I don’t just automatically grab the nearest bright squeaky toy, but also consider providing him with ‘real’ household items to play with, allowing for some interaction with the real world and not solely with the false world we provide through toys.
When it comes down to it, kids just want to be doing what we are, toys are designed to imitate what we do; so if it can be done in a safe way, allowing for some interaction with regular household items will be just as interesting and fun for children.