Could simpler really be sweeter? Do we really need over a dozen features, flashing lights and foreign languages to make toys appealing to children now a days? Rachel puts simplicity to the test when it comes to cool toys.
The holidays are knocking on the door (here, in the Netherlands, SinterKlaas literally does knock on the door) and this is about the time of year that big toy stores release their inch-thick magazines that show off the ‘HOT, NEW, HAVE-TO-HAVE-IT’ toys. Some of these toys lose their coolness before their batteries run out (remember the Ferby?) and others just break before that. So, Mama Moderne readers, is there still a place for simple and timeless toys?
I’ve been noticing in Europe that simple toys are by far the most common. Not many people are interested in plastic disposable ones that make noise for the sake of making noise. Instead, butterfly catchers, hand puppets and wooden racetracks with ruby-painted cars clutter most toy shops, and I for one find it incredibly irresistible to pass one of these shops without stepping inside.
I visited with my niece Jinthe this weekend, so I finally had an excuse to buy the most perfect box of wooden fruit and test this question: can simple toys be cool? We sliced our wooden fruit into pieces with our nifty wooden knife, squeezed it into ‘juice’ and concocted ‘crazy fruit soup’ in a big pot on the play stove. So in fact, yes, wooden fruit is cool to both a toddler and an adult – we played with that polished fruit for hours! And had so much fun that I can whole-heartedly cast my vote that simple toys make playtime exciting.
So why else is simple cool? I think it’s because it requires an active role in making the toy come to life. Have you ever read a book and then been disappointed in watching the movie? Part of that reason is because while reading, you were allowed imagination – you became part of the process.
It’s up to you, of course, what will fill your stockings this year, but my nieces and nephews will probably be getting wooden fruit.