I'm a great believer in NOT buying expensive gifts for children, especially when they stamp their feet as they demand them.
I was reading a 'social worker's' report recently about delivering presents to 'needy' children last Christmas. She claimed there was never any shortage of hi-tech games, fags, bottles of Vodka, or giant TV sets in their chaotic homes, and the kindly offered simple gifts were mostly thrown onto a pile in a corner.
The above Cricket bat is a good example of my attitude. When my oldest showed interest in playing the game (aged about 8), I took a lump of wood and made a bat for him. The words Botham Power Driver, Test Special, and Boundary Searcher (on the back), were added for authenticity! All these years later we still use the bat, which has become something of an institution. (N.B. He nows plays for his town's club, and has had a series of very expensive bats)
When my youngest was also about 8 he wanted computer games. Instead I bought him a pretty basic computer (Amstrad) and encouraged him to design and create his own games, which he did very successfully. He actually preferred the act of creating the games to playing them; a good lesson was learned. (N.B. His work is now computer based)
I rather despair at all the technology bestowed upon children. A bat ball and tree stump, a skipping rope, or an old bike, are far better presents for children. I'm sure they give them not only more fun, but also an increased sense of values. This isn't frugality, as some might imagine, but a way of getting children to use their imaginations; which can only be a GOOD thing.
Somehow I suspect that things could go very wrong for post-millennials if we're not careful.
I agree that simple sturdy gifts, especially ones that are to be used outdoors are great gifts. It looks like your handmade bat is on the way to becoming a family heirloom :)ReplyDelete
It's still used every year, and I expect that to continue.Delete
And what about your daughter ? Maybe you knitted a funny littleReplyDelete
doll for her. Sometimes toys can be quite expensive if you look for good quality and no toxic colours. But very often children love to play with a shoe box and a wooden spoon.
My mother made her a 'Mother, and two baby Rabbits', which she still has.She wasn't the type to ask for too much.Delete
She must have had lots of rabbits. I knitted two, one each for her and her brother, and Mum and Dad delivered them.Delete
I expect she still has them.Delete
That reminded me of someone wanting a "burp gun" All we heard for what seemed like months was "Can I have a burp gun. When it was eventually bought it didn't seem so important.ReplyDelete
pesky little brothers eh...LOL !Delete
Ah, my lovely Burp Gun. I wish I still had it. My then attitude is what probably moulded my present attitude!Delete
We have two cricket bats, one wooden one retrieved from an Englishman's rubbish and one bright yellow plastic. Both have been painted and been adorned by the two grandsons. We play with them because there is basically not enough flat ground around here. Luckily all our grandchildren have had hours of adventures around here but they also love their computer games.ReplyDelete
We 'don't' play with them muchDelete
It's difficult these days for children not to be seduced by their hand-held computer games, but we insist that they only play with them for a certain length of time.Delete
Children need time to get bored, and then they become inventive and interested in other things.ReplyDelete
It also depends on where they live. Out in the country there are always things to do; in mid town/city it's not so easy.Delete
I love your attitude with the children and now grandchildren! I see we're on the same wavelength.ReplyDelete
This is not about toys but the concept is similar. My son once came home from kindergarden asking me to buy him "Batman" shoes (shoes with the batman logo printed on them, a craze back then), because the other children told him his shoes were not "fashionable". I tried to explain to a 5 year old that shoes are to walk, run and play in. But he insisted that with Batman ones he would run faster. I told him to test his "normal" ones with his Batman friends the next day. His determination made him win the race and ever since he has been a confident man in his own shoes!
Greetings Maria x
And no doubt afterwards they all wanted the same Super-Speed shoes as his! There is terrible pressure in schools for children to want certain things, which is why quite strict school uniforms are such a good thing. Schools should never become fashion centres.Delete
How true, my grandsons, aged 10 and 3 today, seem to have so much but still get bored so quickly.ReplyDelete
The eldest is riding his second motor-bike, the small one he's out-grown will no doubt be used by the younger one in due course. Add to that at least 6 bikes of various sizes, scooters, skateboards and various other wheeled toys.
As well as the inevitable electronic devices.
A far cry from my own childhood memories of amusing ourselves with not much more than a piece of string, a few twigs, home-made trolley and a vivid imagination.
The old-fashioned soap box cart was great fun; it also had to be made! There was far more involved than just racing dangerously down some hill.Delete
I bought my Grandkids a pack of 9 cardboard aeroplanes that they had to fit together. They cost £1 and they played with them for an hour or more...excellent value!ReplyDelete
Many of the grandson's toys come from boot sales. They have second hand bikes, some go karts, and other wheeled objects; all of these are used on a daily basis when they're here (especially the bikes).Delete
Totally agree Cro, when I was a kid I'd be idyllicly happy with a packet of plasticine and some model horses for which I made the riders and all the saddles etc. Drove my mum mad when bits got lodged in the carpet though! Making miniature gardens was another one, and zoo animals, I made cages and enclosures for them out in the garden with twigs etc. Kids get far too much these days and get bored so quickly. I never did, and still don't! I despair for today's generation growing up with everything on tap or computerised.ReplyDelete
I find that a lot of children these days don't know what to do with themselves when they haven't got an iPod in their hands. I would love to see a return to 'plasticine' etc, but I doubt it'll ever happen.Delete
I agree with the sentiment Cro but as city dwellers we did both with our two children.ReplyDelete
When my son wanted a bike we bought a second hand one and he oiled it up and painted it himself (it was later stolen by burglars - or bastards as I call them)and when my daughter wanted a very expensive cuddly toy from the local toy shop I explained that we didn't have the money and then she fell in love with an almost identical one from a local charity shop..it all worked out in the end.
It's more difficult for children in town, as there are personal safety matters to be considered. Out here in the wilds children have greater freedom; if only it was the same for all kids.Delete
I agree totally with your attitude Cro - and having worked with problem families for many of my teaching years I saw so many examples of the wrong attitude that it wore me down.ReplyDelete
The less well-off always seem to find money for every new (nasty) X-box war game that comes along. Buy a football instead.Delete
Inventive play is important for young children and mostly I think they like it. My two step-grandchildren, Peter's, are both outdoorsy and playing all the time like we used to and they have animals to be responsible for. I always gave/give them learning type things for presents, checking on their age group because I have no idea about children, and was told that these were the things that they turned to most of all later on Christmas Day and buried their heads in for the holidays. I used to say that I must be labelled the boring granny of all but my step-daughter always said far from it, they preferred my presents.ReplyDelete
I'm sure most children prefer activities with other children. Going for bike rides together, playing snakes and ladders, mucking about in a tree house. It's what children aspire to; not twiddling their thumbs in front of a tiny screen.Delete
It is an attitude like that which has put generations of children off astronomy, when their mean parents buy them completely useless, cheap telescopes for Christmas, Colonel.ReplyDelete
I always recommend that parents buy them a reasonably good pair of binoculars; much better.Delete
I would agree. My grandkids get a phone in high school. The twins are 12 and no phone yet. They have iPads. They draw, play outside and just hang out. Its one big gift at Christmas, I usually get them movie passes.ReplyDelete
'Movie Passes' sounds like a really good idea. I'll remember that for the future!Delete
I call my nephew "Thumb Boy" since his thumb gets such a work out on video games!ReplyDelete
Trying to get kids to use their imagination, I like that concept!
Thanks very much for your visit to my blog, much appreciated.
We seem to be breeding a generation of large thumbed children; not something I'm very keen on.Delete
Its one big gift at Christmas, I usually get them movie passes.ReplyDelete
Dear Cro, a propos of nothing, might Lady Cro be prepared to share her recipe for Estofat de Boeuf as I would like to attempt it for a lunch party I am holding in a few weeks' time? Many thanks -- JamesReplyDelete