£3bn each year on toys

And, that in Britain alone.

That’s absurd!

Are children given too many toys?

Retailers are starting to gear up to sell the latest generation of Christmas toys, but some campaigners are advocating a change in attitude. Do some Western children have too many toys, asks Joanne Furniss.

Excerpts from BBC News

So why do we have so many toys?

Psychologist Oliver James, author of the parenting book Love Bombing, believes children don’t “need” a vast panoply of toys.

“Most children need a transition object,” said James, “their first teddy bear that they take everywhere. But everything else is a socially-generated want.”

It seems we are keen to generate our children’s wants – the Toy Retailers’ Association reports that the British alone spend £3bn each year on toys.

…”Young children discover their identity through fantasy play. If their toys offer a limited repertoire, this process is eroded.”

It is the “play value” that is most important, says Liat Hughes Joshi, author of Raising Children: the Primary Years. “There are enormous benefits to toys – they bring joy, creativity and learning.”

…She sees three factors that make a brilliant toy: “Social value – a dolls house allows children to play together, versatility – Lego bricks can be made into anything, and durability – such as a wooden train track that the child will use for years.”

But James says it’s even better for children to “colonise objects”. A quick glance into the bedroom shows me that my two have recently colonised my baking trays (drums), towels and pegs (den) and a large plastic storage box (my son’s ark, decorated with a portrait of God). It also explains their fascination with sticks, the Swiss Army knife of the imaginary world.

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We had toys when we were younger, but they mostly stayed untouched. We “colonised objects” they were the mainstay of our childhood.

Hanging out in the big hedge beside the house, was much more fun than trucks in the sandpit. Exploring the local council yard and playing in the old rusty machinery there, gave us much more value than hanging around home, it forged friendships and allowed us the freedom of mischief (not malicious).

Toys are not appreciated. Well, they are, when they are given, but depreciate rapidly to eventually be abandoned in the toy cupboard.

If you really want to give your child a treat, let them play in the woods, they’ll find a stick and it will be magic (as said in the article).

Toys, generally, destroy a child’s imaginative powers; or at least hamper them.

The current X-Box, Playstation addiction is a dangerous, and sadly, enduring fad. I never let the kids have more that a Tetra game, and that was addictive enough, even to me. The oft heard cry “Dad, wheres the ‘game’?” Dad sitting on the toilet, “Quiet, I’m busy!”  $300, 400, 500 games, where never even considered in my house, but the junk box of cardboard, polystyrene, old pens, tubes, and assorted bottle tops were in demand. Give the kids that box, a bottle of glue, a roll of sellotape, the stapler and some paints on a rainy day and the veranda became a hive of industry, messy, but a hive of busy happy bees.

One thing I have learned in my travels, simple toys can be fun.

A bag with a hundred marbles ($1) can make a poor kids ecstatic, he’s never had ‘a hundred’ marbles before. Give a kid in the first world the same thing, and you get “WTF do I do with these?”

Kids simply don’t know how to PLAY any more.

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One thought on “£3bn each year on toys

  1. Alex Jones says:

    Too many presents with limited attention holding ability.

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