Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I am guilty of buying my son toys that I think will "make him smarter." The "computer" that ostensibly teaches kids to read. The board books with words in three languages. The "we're not really flashcards" flashcards. Shockingly, he has opted out of engaging with these materials I so lovingly provide him. He has instead spent many an hour playing with my necklaces, paper bags and, on one notable occasion, an extremely disgusting bathroom plunger (good times).
D's teacher often says (in a voice so calm it borders on meditation--how a person whose job consists of watching 25 toddlers day in and day out maintains such calm is beyond me): "Children like to work with real things." (Yes "work": The sometimes wonderful and sometimes slightly bizarre jargon of Montessori schools). I always nodded my head in agreement but only recently have come to see this as true.
Case in point: D has become obsessed with my camera. Obsessed as in he wears it around his neck all the time and threw a tantrum because I wouldn't let him keep it on in the bath. He can spend hours taking shots and then looking through them. And, in my obviously objective and unbiased opinion, I think he is a budding ARTISTE. Here are some of his many, many masterpieces-- don't worry about calling Annie Liebowitz, I've already left a couple messages...!:
The word that comes to mind? GENIUS! Heh.
It makes sense right? That kids will eschew the force-feeding "educational tools" for the stuff that can foster more organic creativity? I consistently learn that kids are smarter than most adults give them credit for. Who wouldn't want to play with a real phone versus some Crayola-colored fake monstrosity? A real camera versus one that coos and makes other really annoying sounds that can only approximate the cool experience of taking a photo? It makes sense.
Plus: Any excuse to forego the Toys R Us scene is good by me.