Editor’s Note: The other day one of our members gave you hints on how to organize your child’s play area. Once you do that, NYC Dads Group member Mark Spellun suggests two classic toys to add to your kid’s selection.
What is the perfect toy? It’s easy to say that it’s in the eye of the beholder. But I think there’s a way of looking at it that many of us might be able to agree upon.
I used to get a little frustrated when my 2-year-old Picasso wannabe would try to erase a drawing he had just made on his magnetic sketch board before I could snap a picture of it. If I could get in his mind, I would say he was saying that the drawing was his and he could do whatever he wanted with it. He would of made Ayn Rand’s Roark from Fountainhead proud.
Although I wasn’t happy he didn’t let me admire his latest masterpiece, I eventually began to see his wisdom.
Frustration is a big part of life for toddlers. There’s so much they can’t do and can’t understand. In short, there’s very little they can control in their life. But if a drawing can be erased even faster than it was made, then there are no mistakes or bad drawings. There are just new drawings and another shot at creating what you were hoping for.
Play-Doh is similar to the magnetic sketch board. There is no perfect sculpture, just a shapeless blob that can be remade and remade. I think that’s one of the reasons kids like it so much. They can keep on experimenting until they have had their fill. There is no pressure to get it right. The idea of the game is just to keep going – much like the Energizer Bunny.
As we get older we place a high value on our time – at least when we aren’t playing with our kid’s Xbox – so ephemeral things like Play-Doh or a drawing on an erasable sketch board start to lose their meaning for us. But for our kids, time is still limitless, so gadgets that can be endlessly reshaped and remade, really are the perfect toy.