The other day a friend of mine with still small children (one in kindergarten and one in preschool) bemoaned the fact that their Christmas wishlist was now full of electronics. The kindergartener wanted an XBox. The pre-schooler wanted a phone. She was beside herself. How did she arrive at the stage where her kids only want expensive electronics?
I maintain they want these things because they see other children using them. But they have the rest of their lives for that sort of thing. It doesn’t mean that they actually want them or that they are appropriate for them. I read my kids’ Christmas lists as a guide not a to-do list of essentials.
So we can steer them away from one thing and toward another. My daughter (now in junior high) had a love of architecture early. So I gave her Shape Mags magnetic tiles ( http://www.shapemags.com/). She played with them for hours. She still takes them out once in awhile when young ones come over. These mag shapes (yes they have wound up on the fridge). I told my girlfriend–go with a manipulative. Something colorful. Something that isn’t a game about shooting.
Shape Mags magnetic tile building sets that allow little builders to create castles, bridges, trains, buildings, pyramids, rockets, their name, the possibilities are endless. Shape mags come in train track sets, gates and fences, frames, arches, windows, doors, vehicle bases, and of course parents are tempted to play with them as well.
Does that sounds like a cop out? Going away from electronics? I don’t think so. They have the rest of their lives to be overly connected.
I’ve also been going the old fashioned route and buying board games. My kids and I have become huge Ticket to Ride fans.
They satisfy my steampunk urge and at the same time have just enough land speculation so that I feel like a proper capitalist. Reminds me of the old Risk–which I’m also a fan of. The Europe version is probably a little complicated for some kids but the American version is pretty simple.
And then there’s the ultimate in nerd presents. My son loves putting together Rube Goldberg machines.
So there you have it. Three things that AREN’T electronic devices where you shoot things for fun.
What non-device presents do you have up your sleeve?
Of course my son has also become a comic book nerd emo book. The other item on his list? An adult onesie. Aye dios mio.