Saturday, December 17, 2016

Why I believe in Giving Children REAL items instead of Toys (when appropriate)

FTC disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.

I've always been a bargain shopper.  I also always thought the things my grandmother could do with yarn was absolutely amazing.  When I was about six, I picked up a child's toy "Learn to Crochet" kit at a garage sale for a quarter.  I took it to my grandmother's house and asked her to teach me.  She took one look at it, and threw the plastic hook in the trash and gave me a REAL one.  She said she could never crotchet using that hook and she wouldn't expect me to, nor would she teach me using such a cheap thing.  That was the first time I ever had an adult replace a toy with a real item.  Now, looking back, there is no way someone could have learned to crochet with that little kit I bought, but handing a six year old a skein of yarn and an adult crochet hook?  Absolutely a six year old can learn with the right tools. (And even easier now with youtube videos and such.)

A year or two later, I got a toy tool box for Christmas.  It was supposed to have "working" tools in them, but it was still a toy.  The only thing that actually worked was the hammer.  Would you believe there were times my dad even asked to borrow it because it was small and could reach places his couldn't?   I even took it to college with me.  It was great for small jobs.

When I was in 6th grade, I wanted a camera.  I didn't know enough to say "single lens reflex"  (This was before digital so there was no such thing as a DSLR.)  I just knew I wanted a camera where you changed lenses.  My uncle told my parents they should get me a point and shoot.  But I knew what I wanted.  It still amazes me even now they bought that for me for Christmas, but they did.  It was one of the most used Christmas gifts I ever received.  I used it through college (I took four photography classes in college.)  I won multiple small awards with photos I took with it, and I'd still be using it today -- except now with the advent of digital, I sold that camera after about 15 years of use and put the money towards a DSLR.  (Of the same brand, as well.  When I knew what I wanted when I was 11, I had my mind made up for life!)  :)

I've always seen a trend of children rising to the occasion.  If an adult thinks they can handle something, many times they can, at least with supervision.  (You have to know the child, though.)  One idea I will do with my children once I adopt is they will receive a gift every year at Christmas that can be used through their whole life.  How young is too young for a tape measure?  Then why not get them a Stanley Tape Measure.  If they are into crafts, go for the real crochet hooks and yarn.  And would you believe it is less expensive than this Alex toys granny squares kit -- and there are instructions online for this kit -- you just don't get as many colors of yarn when you buy it buy the skein.  The crochet hooks could be kept for a lifetime.

I am thankful there were adults who saw the potential in me at a young age to be able to handle adult tools and items.  They never went overboard at Christmas, but I was given a Tupperware measuring cup when I was five years old.  Would you believe that almost 40 years later it is still in my kitchen cabinet.  When I was five I used it to play in the snow.  I used cookie cutters for playing with Play-Doh.  Now I use them for baking.

It isn't hard to think outside the box to get a child something that will last a lifetime, and it needn't be expensive, either.  Plus, think how much fun a child would have locking up their things with a padlock or owning their first roll of Duck Tape.  (They even make pretty colors that might make a better gift to a girl.)  I saw a five year old get his first roll at a birthday party, and it was one of his favorite gifts!

1 comment:

  1. Such wisdom! We have four kids, and even though we try to limit toy clutter it accumulates quickly. Real items are the way to go! :)