March 31, 2010

Imagination, I've missed you

The walk down the toy aisle seems to be an 80’s flashback these days, retro Barbie, Carebears, Smurfs, and Strawberry Shortcake. What’s next the Snorks? It brings back great memories of marathon Saturday morning cartoons until noon, when Saved by the Bell came on. Today we were in Target and right there on the shelf by the Rainbow Brite, was a Monchichhi! Really? Immediately, I started singing the Monchichhi commercial and it’s been stuck in my brain ever since. I didn’t even need a You Tube refresher. Then Audrey asked what it was and what did it do?

“Well, hum, uhhh, monkey, I think, and it doesn’t do anything.”

I just stood there having my moment and Audrey was already bored of it and asked to go to the Barbie aisle. I guess everything has a gimmick these days, and most things talk, walk, laugh, dance or do something. Toys are still based on the TV shows just like the 80’s, however, back in the eighties, toys didn’t do anything. I just thought it was cool that my Strawberry Shortcake smelled like berries! You just used your imagination and played with it; you recreated the stories and wrote new ones. Now day’s imagination is not required. Maybe that’s why I’m such a fan of blocks. But even now, blocks have a purpose; they are textile and covered on every space with letters and numbers and shapes and animals, stacking and nesting. And I will admit, I was a sucker and bought all the Baby Einstein DVDs, and sign language books, etc, etc. cha-ching. But in hindsight, was it really worth it? Of course not. My kids are genius, no doubt; I’d question any parent who didn’t think their child was, but maybe instead of pushing so much learning, I should have encouraged more play. And we play, and played, but we could have lived without Baby Mozart. Now studies are showing it doesn’t matter what kind of music babies or children listen to, as long as they are exposed. So here’s a shout out to the parents who don’t have stashes of batteries, or hit “continual play” on the DVD, but tie on the superhero cape, and the dress-up jewels, find great hiding spots or a cozy nook and read a book. Here’s to imagination, I've missed you, here’s to your revival.


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