I was privileged enough to grow up on a farm, where we literally had stones that we pushed around in lieu of toy cars, while making excited revving noises. Not for a minute did I feel that I was missing out, or that my life was anything less than fulfilled, happy and carefree.
But what about our children, have they forgotten the simple joys of floating a stick in a stream, in favour of being up to date with the latest, best and flashiest thing with a massive price tag? And what are we as parents doing to encourage or change this attitude?
Our lives have become so busy, with pressure for children to conform and achieve from a young age. For many busy parents, complex and expensive toys can be a wonderful asset and a means of engaging and keeping children stimulated and occupied while they get time to do some housework, or catch up on some well-deserved screen time of their own.
But are we forgetting the simpler joys of childhood? In South Africa, we are blessed with wonderful weather, lots of space and a culture that encourages sports and outdoor activities. Expensive, well-thought out toys can be wonderful , but why don’t we hide the bells and whistles once in a while and allow kids to unplug and just be themselves? There are wonderful ways in which kids can use recyclables and found objects to fashion their own toys, or – if we know kids – just play around with the box that the appliance came in.
Here are some creative examples of simple (and inexpensive) ways of keeping your children entertained, while also doing your bit for the environment:
- Homemade toy ideas
- And if you do want to spoil your little one, have a look at Forbes’ list of Top 10 Toys that Breed Creativity