Lately I have been thinking about toys. Our childhood spaces are filled with toys, and we continually receive catalogues imploring us to buy more toys. Toys are ubiquitous in our business, but do we pay attention to them? Do we think about the corporate influence and marketization of toys?
Consider the big box stores, the ‘pink’ isle filled with dolls and tea sets, and the ‘black’ isle filled with action figures and remote control vehicles. There is an isle for babies, an isle for toddlers, a ‘learning’ isle, a ‘outdoor isle’ and an ‘arts isle’…..and more. All these categories of toys sends three very strong messages:
- Each activity a child engages in requires a different kind of toy
- Boys and girls require different kinds of toys
- Children of different ages require different kinds of toys
Do we believe this?
An educator in a multi age drop in centre was considering toys, particularly baby toys. She saw adults directing babies and toddlers to the ‘baby toys’ steering them away from the ‘preschool toys’. So she did an experiment: she removed the baby toys and in their place put an overhead projector. And voila! The overhead projector became a baby toy.
What do you believe about toys?