Monday, December 8, 2008

The Lost Art of Imagination

Okay, so we've often heard our kids have no imagination these days. Well, no wonder! I saw a commercial over the weekend that made my jaw drop. It is a new game for the DS called "My Baby."
Check this out:

What the hell ever happened to playing with an actual doll? And I'm not talking about the ones that walk, talk, pee, poop and speak spanish. I mean the cloth dolls that don't do anything - except what we imagine they do!

I was so appalled by this! One of my passions, of course, is teaching parents how to play with their children. Well, let this be a lesson in how NOT to play with your children! Give them something tangible that they can hold and actually play with.

I understand the lure of video games and there is nothing wrong with them in and of themselves. It is when that is the only thing they do and the only toy they have that it becomes a concern.

Freckles, my daughter who is about to turn 9, was asking for a DS this year for Christmas several months ago because, of course, all her friends have them. They play with them on the bus to school. Troy made a comment jokingly, "But then you won't look out the window at nature and you won't talk to your friends!" Her reply? "I've been doing that for eight years! I'm tired of it!" But here's the thing - we have held off on the video games and I am very proud of that fact. Our children both have such vivid imaginations. I remember when we lived in the country (it was a half-hour drive into the city) and I could hear my daughter in the back seat (about 4 or 5 at the time) telling me stories that would last the whole drive in. Now one of her favorite things to do is write and draw. She is a wonderful story-teller and has written prolific amounts. It is one of the things her teachers praise her about.

So if you have young children, the choice is yours - not theirs! Just because they want something doesn't mean you have to cave. Use your best judgement for your kids this Christmas. Again, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with video games! But make sure they also have a good stack of board games and play together regularly. Family games night is one of our favorite pasttimes. It is amazing the conversations that will happen around the board.


Geosomin said...

I so agree. It's been a challenge finding good gifts for our neice Elli this Christmas...she's a smart 4 year old with an imagination and we want to be sure it stays that way...
I was appalled to see an ad the otehr day -a christmas ad from Walmart. The parents are al ltouched because the kids take the Walmart flyer and make a picture for their Dad of al lthe things they want for presents glued to it and give it to him. Wrong...
Your kids are brilliant - to me the ide aof what I hope our kids will be like (if we ever get round to all that business). I'd say you're doing something right.
Having a computer isn't too bad...we had one as kids and we still had vivid imaginations. We just had limited time on it...

Cindi said...

I've seen that ad too! Maybe they should get the kids some more art supplies :)
If you're looking for a gift for your niece, make sure you check out Discovery Toys ( I'm not using this blog to promote myself, but I understand your dilemma!

everydayMOM said...

It's amazing, isn't it, when you see kids who actually don't know how to play! When my kids were 6 months old, I gradually started each one on "crib time/room time" where they had to start with 15 minutes and work up to an hour a day of independent play time in their rooms... nothing but toys and their imaginations! (And none of the toys had batteries, of course!) I'm amazed now that they can play for extended periods by themselves. They actually don't even need toys, half the time... JUST their imaginations. Hopefully, it's not a lost art, or we might be missing a whole generation of engineers, designers, architects, writers and more! =]