“Play is the work of childhood”
Play is undoubtedly the best form of learning. And this kind of learning begins at birth.
The toys that a child is given become his playing aid. Toys become a child’s best friend as they grow. But as I watch my child grow I wonder – Are toys really important? Would a child not play if he had no toys at all? How important is it to choose the right toys for a child?
I call to mind early days of motherhood when I was my baby’s only playmate. As he grew a few months old, the glowy blue teether, the noise of the rattle, the drum set, attractive books and the other toys began to grab and hold his attention. I have always believed toys were an integral investment.
Toys help in
– developing language skills
– developing fine and gross motor skills
– applying logic
– cognitive development ( a child understand the relationship between cause and effect, I often describe the colour, shape, size and texture of the toys)
– teaching a child to reason, plan, work as a team, seek help, to follow and lead with equal grace, and to embrace the sense of accomplishment.
– they definitely help in keeping a child occupied and ‘out of your hair’ for a while.
As my son toddled into toddler years, our house became a warehouse of toys. On his first birthday he received 50 odd toys which required batteries. I did not hand all of them over to him, but opened for play atleast a dozen of them.
I wouldn’t deny I bought my son quite a few battery operated toys myself. At this age, the desire to choose his own purchases at the store is at the peak. The shopkeeper demonstrates the priciest of the toys with the brightest of lights and loudest of noise to attract him. I have given in and bought a few of them.
Only a few weeks after his first birthday, I stuffed all toys that needed batteries and sacked them into the store. Here are five reasons that led to making this choice:
1) They are Disappointing
At first the dog with somersault movements looks real funny. After the child has exhausted the low quality batteries that come with most toys, they dog becomes still. And then you must rush to arrange another set of batteries or soothe your wailing-in-disappointment baby.
2) Batteries are expensive
Maintaining battery operated toys is an expensive affair. My son was addicted to the turtle with disco lights and doremon that played drum. To maintain his toys, I bought a heap of batteries, only to extinguish all of them in a few days. I thought rechargeable batteries would make a wise investment. I bought rechargeable batteries (that cost ten times a regular battery) and an even more expensive battery charger.
3) They are artificial
Once a battery leaked in my son’s über cool remote control car. There was acid like liquid all over the place. I was paranoid and the guilt of exposing my child to the harmful chemicals seeped into me. Batteries are not just harmful for my child but also for Mother Earth.
4) Batteries make annoying noise
Most battery operated toys make loud and annoying noise. These kind of toys create an audio riot, disturbing every member of the house including the child.
5) I do not consider playing with battery toys as play
As I mentioned above my love for toys and how they help in development, battery operated toys do not qualify as toys that aid a child’s development.
Such toys lay an agenda for a child and the gets engrossed in that particular agenda. There is little room for exploration and invention.
Toys that emit bright light and make loud noise provide multiple stimulation to a child similar to television screen and other gadgets.
Over stimulation is responsible for several long term problems like fatigue, boredom, disintersest, lack of social skills and even obesity.
I have bid the batteries a GOOD BYE.
Do share in the comments below what you think of batteries and toys that rely on them.