Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Shovel and Some Sand

We live in an era of computers for toddlers, toys that sing and light up, Baby Einstein videos, flash cards intended to teach babies to read, trucks that move, dolls that poop, Elmos that giggle and vibrate. Do children really need all of these gadgets to play and learn?
My son, from a very early age, appreciated the outdoors. He was a colicky infant, who seemed not to notice if I sang to him or gently patted his back, only if he was being bounced or rocked.  Yet somehow, one subtlety that always caught his attention, no matter how deeply into a screaming fit he'd immersed himself, was the front door opening and the fresh air catching his newborn skin. He would calm instantly.
And as a toddler, although he is spoiled with countless toys, his favourite place to be is still outside.  A child's imagination can be sparked for hours on end just by dropping him into a pile of dirt with a shovel and a pail. Add a watering hose to the equation and you might not see him for weeks!
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