Sunday, 16 January 2011

the toy story...

This year was the first Christmas that I was worried about present buying, as the boys main present was a bagatelle game, shared between them, and not a lot else to be honest!

The eldest had listed a Wii, Xbox, DS, laptop, and ipod on his list for Father Christmas, influenced by his friends at school and his younger brother just copied him! I explained that they were too young for computers and we couldn't afford one, I also knew that grandma had brought them some fab gifts, so I hoped they wouldn't be too disappointed on Christmas day.

Luckily they weren't and a bagatelle championship took over most of Christmas and New Year between bouts of illness. Along with a renewed interest in their castle (see picture above), thanks to the fab present of a trebuchet from Aunty Jenny.

We have no intention of buying them computers when they are so young (aged 7 & 4), but at the same time sometimes it feels that they the only children that don't have a DS or Wii? I feel an impending sense of doom as they are only going to ask again next Christmas!


  1. Your children are a few years older than mine and I love reading about how you manage their expectations - it is an inspiration. We are the same re computer games and don't own a telly. They watch programmes on the home computer so aren't entirely tv starved but at the same time I don't want them being isolated from their peers. Sometimes I dream of migrating to a remote Socttish island to escape the consumerism!

  2. We spend some fantastic family time playing on our Wii, particularly the sporty type of games, winter sports is a favourite and my 8 year old son loves to stretch a few yoga poses with me. I look at it as an alternative board game for us to all play together. This does not stop extended games of Uno or Chinese Chequers.
    I have never met a kiddo with an imagination like my little man, and it is often commented on by his teachers. He has a very long attention span and can truly sit with a pile of lego for two or three hours occupying himself. I thought it was a little sad when he had a friend over last week who sat watching him with his lego/playmobil and said "I love watching you play". The Wii has not affected his imaginative play at all. Sometimes my husband and I listen to him and his sister laughing uncontrollably whilst playing together, so I think there must be some sort of value to their communication skills.
    I know I am putting myself out there by commenting on the values of a toy such as this where I know that the Wii is considered the Devils work by some, but, for my little 'uns it works and with careful use, it does have it's place.

  3. All my 4 year old daughter's friends have DS as well or whatever else. However, I refuse to get her one. As of yet, she is a bit oblivious as to what they are but soon she will ask. And so I will refuse. The same way I am proud that my daughter cannot/will not switch on the telly by herself just as much as other parents seem to be proud that their kid has worked out the fool workings of the sky planner.

  4. What fun- I used to play that for hours as a child on my dad's one from the 1950s! My 5 year old asks for a DS regularly, but I don't think she has the slightest idea what it even is- she just hears others talking about them. The other day I saw 2 boys sitting on a bench in the play park playing on them- so sad when they could be running around and playing on the swings! x

  5. What fun- I used to play that for hours as a child on my dad's one from the 1950s! My 5 year old asks for a DS regularly, but I don't think she has the slightest idea what it even is- she just hears others talking about them. The other day I saw 2 boys sitting on a bench in the play park playing on them- so sad when they could be running around and playing on the swings! x

  6. Lucy, thank you so much for commenting, your son is only a year older than mine, so it is really interesting to learn that it hasn't replaced his imagination or imaginative play. We do of course play at friends houses and have loads of fun, but I am so unsure about buying one, I think you're right, some people do believe them to be bad. As you can tell from the amount I blog, I am often on my laptop, but I didn't own a PC until my 20's! Many of my friends have bought Wii's as a family but I find it hard to believe individual children are bought such expensive items and when they are so young! Its such a dilemma!
    Emma ;0)

  7. I have one child who was born knowing what a brand name is... unfortunately he was born into a home where nobody else cares!!! He has an ongoing wishlist, since he could talk, that always has a laptop, an ipod, a cell phone - oh why not an iphone. Why in the world I would give my child a cell hone let alone a laptop!!! Sometimes he tones it down and puts a mountain bike and a custom made skate board on it!!! Despite his wish list he is always happy with the book, ball of string and roll of packing tape my kids get for Christmas every year!!!

  8. One example among many: I'm 26, and I grew up without most electronics (television set, game system, etc.) Perhaps I was an odd child, but I enjoyed not having the electronics the other children had. TV and video games seemed complicated and time-consuming. If I did have the urge to watch a cartoon or play a video game, I had my pick of friend's houses, and I'd have a go at their gadgets during sleepovers and such. Honestly, my friends preferred coming over to my house because we did "cool stuff I wish my parents would do"...making pancakes shaped like zoo animals, building forts, doing art projects, writing the next great spy novel... I never felt like I was missing out. In fact, I felt I had the better deal.

    My parents were wise to have the kids with popular electronic "stuff" come over to my house to play. It made a big impression on me to see that my friends preferred my fun to their gadgets. Because I had the opportunity to play with electronics at friends' homes, I could judge for myself that gadgets are really just a flashy headline for a dull story.

    The one thing that frustrates me is that since I've never watched television, I don't understand many of the (so-called) cultural references of modern society. I didn't want to watch TV as a child, and I don't want to watch it now, but sadly, television is one of the ways that people connect and form bonds, particularly in the workplace where more personal topics are off-limits. I don't know any way around it. I make it a point to at least watch the previews for popular television programs (on hulu) so I'll know what the heck people are talking about!

  9. Certainly is doom... my sons, now 18 and 15 - have the lot... I think 11 was the turning age for giving in with the DS - and that one is the least problamtic of the lot!! When the time comes, take my advice and have a WRITTEN contract that they agree to a pre arranged daily limit. I think a lot of it is down to the friends they make at school and on reflection, I wish I had been more forceful at encouraging them to join sports the time, I was relieved I didn't have to run them around to various fixtures etc, but that would have been the lesser of two evils. However, I do use the x-box as a bribe - just twenty minutes ago I warned the 15 year old he has to be home by 5.30 or he'll come back to find the x-box GONE!! Good luck, and keep the home console free for as long as poss! Boo xx

  10. I was out for dinner just before Christmas and at some point in the meal my mother started rambling on about how she couldn't get this and that to work in her phone, so she thrust it across the table at me to fix. I was in the middle of a conversation with my brother who I do not see that often and I got annoyed, I almost shouted at her, "please will you put that away, I'm not in the least bit interested in your phone right now". Just as I said that I turned and saw all three of her friends (the 60's group) were sat there with their phones out on the table. I turned back to my side of the table (the 30's group) and we were all sat having a great conversation, not a phone, ipad or DS in sight.
    I think I have become the parent in this relationship! How do you handle a mother? Should I buy her a DS now?

  11. Emma, my heart jumped for joy when I saw the picture of your son playing with the castle. Years ago, my brother had a castle and millions of little people to go with it. Later his children and mine played with it at our parent's home and now we each have grandchildren and, alas, the castle has vanished! You have launched my quest to find another for my 8 year old Aiden. We mustn't allow the electronic toys to squelch ours and our children's ability to practice conversation, reach for a book, notice the world around them, develop sensitivities to the nuances of interactions.
    Thank you, Emma, for your meaningful blog. I visit often and am ashamed to say have commented but once. Linda


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