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Active vs. Passive Toys

Posted by Sprout Soup on

Here we are now, entertain us

I was sitting with my family on Christmas morning watching my 3 year old tear open packages and I looked around at the pile of ‘loot’ he had acquired and I couldn’t help but think of how much has changed since I was a kid. I would guess that about 75% of his toys required batteries. Most were plastic. Most would be broken/lost/forgotten within a year.

As I started thinking about this I noticed how many of the toys were ‘passive’ toys. Passive toys are toys that expect the child to sit back and be entertained where active toys are toys that use and develop your child’s imagination. Passive toys crush creativity and stifle intellectual development. I cringe every time I see a Baby Einstein video that is marketing itself as educational. The TV is the ultimate passive toy. Today’s kids park themselves in front of the the TV for hours on end watching commercials for other passive toys.

Where does this need to be entertained come from? It is not an inbred response – it is learned. As parents we often joke about how our child opens a toy and tosses it to the side and spends hours playing with the box it came in. How many times as parents have we taken the box away and handed our child back the toy? We should nurture their imagination and do everything we can to help their minds grow.

So what can we do about this? It is surprisingly difficult to find quality toys that stimulate the imagination rather than stifle it. That is why I decided to start writing about toys. I wanted to pass on my thoughts and experiences in hopes that others will find it useful.

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