From Free-Range to Safety CorralTuesday, February 22, 2011
Toys are no longer fun things for playing. They “develop gross motor skills,” “develop spatial awareness,” and improve “concentration and memory while reinforcing dexterity and hand-eye coordination.”
Lenore Skenazy, the original Free-Range Mom, has written a great column published in today’s Wall Street Journal: “Parents Are Taking the Fun Out of Toys.” Lenore is noted for her criticism of modern society’s constant structuring of children’s lives, rather than allowing them to just play, explore, learn, and develop naturally.
The poor children nowadays – every activity is planned and every toy has to have a ‘science’ (gimmick) behind it. No action can be performed without a helmet, a safety lecture, an adult present, reflective clothing, anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, gobs of 50 SPF sunblock, or perhaps some full-body armor. This is from Lenore’s column:
In truth, kids learn really valuable lessons by riding a real tricycle on the real sidewalk. They learn about nature. They learn about the seasons. They talk to neighbors and learn how to make friends. They even learn some skills that will help them in the classroom, like how to pay attention. But since none of this is measured by schools and tests, it tends to get discounted by parents, who prefer toys that hint that they’re pointing straight toward Princeton.
For more on this, see “The World’s Five Best Toys (that aren’t on the government’s safe list).” Trees, sticks, rocks, dirt, magnets, marbles, cardboard tubes – these are no longer allowed to bring joy to children. Instead, they are either not scientific enough, or they generate some potential danger. All potential dangers, as we know, must be immediately denounced and banned. If you google “children toys dangerous,” it is scary – yet preposterous – to see what comes up.