Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Necessity is the mother of invention...if that is so, my girl is the daughter of invention (if there is such a thing).

As I've mentioned before, if something is not being playing with, used, worn or read, and especially if it is an item that is large and hard to store - it will end up being donated at some point.

Yesterday before supper, dd asked "where is my doll highchair?" The deal is, she rarely plays with dolls - the interest kind of comes and goes and hasn't been coming as often. She rarely played with the doll highchair - which fell into the category of items not been played with and being kind of large and hard to store - so it went out with the last batch of thrift store donations about a month ago.

She was grieved for about 15 seconds and then just matter-of-factly announced "I guess I'm gonna have to make one". She disappeared for awhile and came back with a cardboard box. But not just a regular cardboard box - do one thing and it's a car for pulling the doll in...or flip it over, force the doll's feet inside (I actually heard her cry out in pain) and it's a highchair. She continued to extol it's virtues but I was in the midst of getting supper so I kind of wasn't paying attention the whole time. She was excited enough about her "invention" that she had to explain it all to dad when he got home...kind of like one of those ginsu knife commercials "cut through a nail, a tin can, and a radiator hose and still cut a tomato paper thin...but wait there's more".

The point is - are we stifling our kids' imaginations and creativity by giving them, and buying for them, everything they want?

I sometimes think of the toys the pioneer children probably had...sticks, rocks, dirt, water, maybe a cornhusk doll, some blocks of wood perhaps. Few (or no) books, little or (no) paper, pens, crayons, markers.

I figure those pioneer children turned out just fine with their limited toy resources, so I don't need to feel guilty about getting rid of toys that are not being played with. Of course I don't get rid of toys/books etc. with significance attached to them ...the little baby board book "I Love Daddy"...with flaps that you open...with broken flaps and the edges of the book badly gnawed by a roly poly little teething baby, the wooden baby rattle that a friend in Japan sent and other special gifts given by those the children love.

Sometimes kids just need to be left to their own resources...


Heather said...

Exactly! We toss stuff constantly and limit how many toys they may have at any given time. With three kids and numerous grandparents we realized that the kids were receiving 300 total new "big" toys a year, and that is if they only each buy 1 thing for the kids! We encourage they to give them project books and craft supplies instead for that very reason.

My oldest's favorite project is to make "inventions", very similar to your's.

Anonymous said...

I keep toys around for children who come and visit here...however, as a child when visiting my grandparents, there wasn't much in the ways of toys...a few broken crayons, pencil stubs which we used to colour newspaper comics-we loved it ! Inventions are great-keep it up "groovy girl" !