Holidays a time to pass on ideas
With the holiday season hovering over our heads, commercials have begun inundating our brains with images of the newest and latest technologically advanced gadgets and toys. This brings to mind childhood and the simplicity of it all. Remember the toys that required no batteries? What about the kind that were actually powered by you? Kids today aren’t as lucky as we were back then, but on the other hand they have much cooler toys.
Thinking back on the popular toys of years ago, it is almost laughable to think that my older sisters were entertained for hours by a Slinky. But then again, a winding staircase and four sisters to keep it away from would be fun for any kid.
Kid-powered toys have come and gone throughout the years, and Tickle Me Elmo does not count as kid-powered. But there are some things like the View Master, Etch-a-Sketch, traditional board games such as Yahtzee!, Trouble and Monopoly and good old fashioned Silly Putty and Play-Doh that inspired the imagination and fueled frustration at times. Remember trying to solve the Rubik’s Cube before your friends?
Now kids have volume control, low- battery indicators, CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray, game consoles out the wazoo, and yet they still complain that they are bored. Although it may date me a bit, why not give a little girl a stick with ribbon and show her how fun it can be pretending. Little boys are fascinated with video games almost from the get-go, but why not give them a hammer, some sand paper and a few nails to see what they can come up with?
The toys and gadgets today are truly great things, but they dampen the imagination of our youth and prevent them from thinking beyond whatever gaming box they are playing that day.
Before getting all huffy, think about it; kids and even adults that like toys are continually looking for the next best thing. Toymakers and advertisers strive to outdo their most recent accomplishment, even if it means only changing the shape of a knob. Sadly, it will be labeled "all-new" or "newly updated," and people will rush out to buy the exact same thing they already own. It’s no big deal to them because everyone is out to make a buck, and that is fine. But for parents, it’s a nightmare – an expensive nightmare. Our society is in a never-ending game of "Keeping up with the Joneses," and the Joneses are anyone that is not you.
Toy makers have been making things like craft kits and things you build yourself, but these face pretty tough competition. Today’s kids and toy-loving adults like the bells and whistles offered by hand-held game devices, cell phones that have more options than necessary and mp3 players that go beyond anything fathomable when it comes to media storage.
Progress is tremendous and inevitable, but nostalgia almost always brings a smile to people’s faces. If you close your eyes and think really hard, you might see an image of a little kid sitting on a rocking horse that bounced because of springs or a giant rubber ball with handles to hold onto as you bounced up and down all over the yard.
Simple things like sling-shot powered water balloons for an all-out war with the neighborhood and cardboard boxes decorated with crayons that transformed a living room or backyard into a magical kingdom, are the things that leave a lasting memory.
Ah well, back to reality. Today’s kids see a box as just a box, unless they are under five years old, and water balloons are rarely filled with water any more. That’s OK, though. It is nice to be told by the younger generations in my family that they had a blast playing hide-and-go-seek in the orchard or that staying up late to play tag in the yard was "the best."
Think back to the fun stuff you used to do as a kid; are the kids of today doing the same things we did? Maybe they should, or better yet, maybe you should show them.
Memories will remain just that unless we bring them out and dust them off.
MousaviDin, a communication junior, can be reached via [email protected]