Remember toys without batteries? Without buttons and video screens, that involved physical activity? Toys that engaged the child’s imagination? This holiday season, think about introducing your children or grandchildren to the toys, games, and books that excited you when you were a kid.
For young children, toys that they can manipulate will entertain them while they develop essential dexterity skills. Slinky toys, pull toys, spinning tops, and toy vehicles like trains, tractors and cars stimulate those neurons as they learn how things work. Dolls, puppets, and stuffed animals, like the ever-popular Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, the Lamb Chop puppet that was a favorite in the fifties and sixties, and all kinds of bears, give kids something to cuddle while they practice their communication skills on their little friends.
For older children, board games are a great way to connect with friends and family. “Chutes and Ladders” is an engaging, unpredictable game that inspires lots of laughter as players progress through the ladders, and then suddenly end up at the bottom of the board as they unexpectedly encounter a chute. Another vintage game still played today, “Clue” challenges children’s (and adults’) logical prowess as they try to figure out “whodunit.”
Don’t forget to introduce your children or grandchildren to the books you enjoyed as a child. “Heidi,” “Treasure Island,” the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder – the reason you remember them is that they’re classics, well written and as exciting for today’s generation of young people as they were when you were growing up. Children love to be read to, so consider these wonderful classics as a chance to snuggle up with the kids or grandkids as you read to them. Don’t forget to reminisce about your childhood while you’re interacting with them, reading, playing games, or watching them play; this times are a great opportunity to begin to pass along the family stories that are so much a part of daily life.
Unplugging your children or grandchildren from the TV, the DVD player, and the Game Boy will be doing them a big favor. Getting them involved with toys, games and books that will stimulate their minds and their hearts will pay off for them for years to come.