I do not have my own kids yet. But I do enjoy having my friends’ little babies and kids around. I like shopping for these little ones, even making things for them sometimes. I love playing with them. The perks of being a Tita.
I realize every time I go to toy stores or shops for babies and toddlers that there are much too many electronic toys on the market – those that have lights, sounds, music, voice, and what not. The advantage of available technology, they may say, but they don’t quite appeal to me. Call me old-fashioned, but I still like the more tactile toys for the kids – nothing electronic (perhaps except simple electric toys like battery-operated toy cars), nothing that lights up so many colors, and nothing that talks or sings. I like books, blocks, balls, things that rattle, crinkle, spin, roll, and all those stuff. I like dolls and stuffed toys that you just hug and make believe they are alive, but they don’t need to really talk at all.
I don’t have kids yet, and I don’t have a psychology or sociology or medical degree. But I believe that it’s best to avoid exposing babies and toddlers to sensory overload. It would be nice for them to discover things slowly and as immersive as possible – observe the motion of a ball being thrown up in the air (or at yaya or mommy?), realize that building blocks can be connected, or plastic blocks can be placed on top of each other to create a tower, that shaking a rattle will make it sound, and things small enough or of the right shape will fit in some holes. It would be great for kids to learn how to read from real books, not from computers or tablets.
I remember my toys way back when I was a little kid. The only ones with batteries were my brother’s robot that walks and has eyes that light up, some toy cars, my little pink plastic blender that has a plastic “blade” that really whirls things around, a little dog that barks and does somersaults, and similar things. They were so simple, yet I could imagine and create many different worlds with them. I would remember having a birthday party for Elaine (my cabbage patch kid doll) with all my other dolls and stuffed toys as well as my friends’ toys in attendance.
But that’s just me. I shall not judge anyone who would prefer or believe otherwise, these are just my preferences. This is how my mind works every time I enter the toy store to buy stuff for my friends’ babies and kids. And this is how my mind will probably still work when I have my own little ones.
p.s. Whenever I go to the toy store, I also find interesting stuff for myself. I’m still drawn to board games as well as things you put together and build (e.g. wooden or metal-sheet 3D building puzzles).