Dad Speak: What Happened to Our Toys?


There was a time when all kids needed for fun was a few objects and a bit of imagination. The reality is, the same is true today.

If you need proof, just give a child a gift wrapped in bubble film and they’ll likely spend more time with the protective wrapping than the toy itself. The beauty of being a kid is that everything has endless possibilities because you don’t know the rules yet. It’s not apparent what completion looks like and there is nothing to be measured against.

The downfall of today’s toys is that we start teaching these things too early. Most things have a start and a finish. LEGO went from a bucket of pieces with infinite outcomes to a singular design complete with directions to follow.

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.
— Fred Rogers

How children play shapes who they become and the choices they make in the future. One is a path of follow the rules, stay inside of the box, and follow the leader. The other is anything is possible, color outside of the lines, and follow your intuition. Every generation is tasked with solving interesting problems and theirs will be no different. I hope they show up as the latter.

If you're still not convinced of the boundless possibilities of open play, I urge you to take a few minutes to watch this video:

Anthony Wilson RudolfComment