Today Wildman Sprout's best friend's mama and I were talking and she was wondering if we like to hike (hee hee!!)...it lead to a quick agreement that we aren't ever planning on supplying Wiis or X-boxes for our boys which means we are going to need to be intentional about what we do when friends come over. When the family is heading out for a weekend backpacking trip or a day hike or a XC ski, we agreed that we need to stop for a second and include each other. It's probably easier to have the electronic toys, but with a little more intentional practice, I think we can happily avoid this. We'll see.
I know that today as I cleaned our Sprout's rooms, I realized that they don't have a single battery powered toy. It's not a conscious decision - it's just that every time they load up boxes to send to GoodWill, they put those battery powered toys in there but keep all the markers, craft supplies, Legos, Kitchen supplies, Tinker Toys, and building blocks. Check out Magic Cabin for a pluthera of toys for kids that believe in "Kid powered toys" not Battery Powered Toys. (Their mission has been guided by the simple notion that children's lives are enriched by ample time for open-ended, creative, imaginative play. They believe in good-old-fashioned make believe and in children's innate need to interact with simple, natural toys and crafts.) The toys that sing to my sprouts and blink at them don't let them stay creative and ultimately, they quickly lose their interest. The toys that allow for open-ended, limitless possibilities like a pile of Legos or building blocks they never grow tired of.
I wanted to point it out again!! Head on over to http://www.storyofstuff.com/ to watch a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.
Let me know your thoughts as you battle the issue of stuff!! Let's brainstorm ideas of things to have around the house that could foster creativity, keep the kid's interested, and avoid the marketing traps (kids are the highest targeted niches in marketing. Boardrooms are full of people figuring out ways to get our kids to think they will not be happy without "It" and our kids are believing the billionaire tycoons.)
- Our garage has a treadmill in it for rainy days. The kids like to run on that for fun.
- Our garage has a pretty high end foosball table in it - our family routinely has foosball tournaments
- Craigslist - find cheap deals on foosball, pingpong, and pool tables
- Dart boards
- Croquet, volleyball, and badminton for the backyard
- B-Ball hoop for the front yard
- BIKES!!! Scooters!! Rollerblades and skateboards, oh my!!
- Board games
- Wooden Blocks, Legos, Tinker Toys, Marble maze construction sets
- Doll houses/farm animals
- Kitchen sets/tool sets
- Crafts - keep that craft bucket packed!!
- Marbles, Jacks, Pick up sticks