The Changing face of toys

Toys today aren’t like they used to be. Sophisticated electronic games are now the norm and old style toys- anything that doesn’t shoot lasers, make a loud noise, or have a keyboard on it- have fallen out of style. Undeniably, the shift has pros and cons.

Computer use is an important skill these days and introducing kids to it through games and toys is an easy way to prepare them for more the serious applications of the same technology. The growth in play as you learn games teaching basic arithmetic and literacy skills has also taken off, and the Wii and dance games are even addressing some of the concerns about having a whole generation sit on a couch and stare at a screen all day.

Many old fashioned toys are being replaced by modern equivalents. Meccano, once the toy of choice for budding engineers, has been replaced by problem solving games and puzzles, and even virtual pets are appearing. But one thing is missing. The tremendous creativity required to make something from nothing is vanishing. Why play pretend Knights of the Round Table with sticks for swords and a back yard for Camelot when you can play it on the computer inside, with stories and pictures all done for you?

One way of bringing a creative element back into kid’s play is with fancy dress costumes. It doesn’t have to be Halloween to play make believe (and develop the social and imaginative skills such games foster). Letting your kids choose a fancy dress costume now and again with have them playing at being pirates one month, royal guards or princesses or cowboys or Robin Hood the next.

Fancy dress costumes aren’t expensive, especially for kids, and you can let them build the pillow forts and park bench pirate ships they’ll need. It’ll get them outside, exercising their minds, making friends, and of course, having fun.

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