Now that the holiday season is behind us, I have a fresh perspective on the business of "designer toys". There are scores of toys and games out there that don't just entertain--they educate and stimulate creativity. I spent an afternoon with my 6-year-old playing with a toy that let us "dig out" Dinosaur fossils, put them together and paint the whole thing. It was pretty cool, and probably more productive than killing a few hours with a video game.
However, even with a great selection of stuff out there, we still wonder why our kids are drawn to simple items around the house as opposed to the designer toys we carefully select for them. A piece of chalk on an open driveway. Pot covers that act as shields or cymbals. Aprons for capes. Sticks as swords, magic wands or microphone stands. And a cardboard box for pretty much anything.
What do we do after the holidays when our children have abandoned their designer toys in favor of pots, pans, boxes, and chalk? Rejoice that they are playing with a gift more valuable than any designer toy ever created.