Thursday, July 31, 2008

Play Value (from last week)

Don't know why I never finished this one (I started it last week), but I think I know where I was going to go with it.

Last week The Boy got a present from the wonderful people at the treatment center--a new truck! I thought that it was rather nice that when they got a bunch of toys donated for all the kids at the center, they thought of our boy when they saw this one.

Last week he also received a wooden puzzle toy from Aunt M. This is a triangular board with 3 pieces cut out--a plane, a train, and an automobile. Can't find a picture easily so you'll just have to use your imagination.

Looking around the room (today, now), I see a hodgepodge of The Boy's toys and it's so interesting what he plays with and how much use he gets out of the items in his collection.

He has three different walk-behind toys like the one that I mentioned above (one isn't opened yet and we will probably save it for later). They help little ones learn to walk. Does he ever use these toys to push around and practice walking? Yes, but it's not his idea. He much prefers his table or his chair (a hand-me-down from Aunt L.--2 gorgeous child-size upholstered chairs) to push across the floor. The walk-behind toys have other parts to play with; buttons to press and little gears to spin.

He LOVES his Mega-Bloks, which are giant-sized Legos (bigger than Duplo), that Musical Daddy got at a yard sale for $2. He can't build so much yet although he is just learning to take things apart. He likes to hold two pieces and bang them together or crawl around the house with one block in his hand. That way, you know he's coming.

In the bathtub (we still use this on the countertop, by the way), he has stacking cups. He loves these too. He bangs them together and throws them from the tub into the sink. Sometimes he misses and throws them on the floor. With or without water.

Since he loves the stacking cups, I picked up a package of 8 small plastic tumblers from The Dollar Tree. Another success. We played with these together--I built little towers and he would take cups from the tower and wonder why the cups kept appearing, stacked. I also showed him how to knock the towers down. These cups are all over the house; that's a measure of play value.

Think about this, when you buy toys for children--what are they going to do with the toys? What are all of the possibilities (think "outside the box" here)? If the toy is supposed to be for a certain age group, is it for developmental or safety reasons? Certainly The Boy was too young to build anything with the Mega Bloks when Musical Daddy purchased them, but because we could see that they were not unsafe for him, we let him play with the blocks and he discovered his own games.

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