When I was a child, there were two things that could take the attention of my family and me. They were video games and toys. The more we played them the more we’d play them. And as I grew older, those two things became just one thing – video games.
My dad had this habit of getting up to “play” with us on the weekends. He would come into our room in the morning, pick me (or my younger brother) off the bed and throw us over his shoulder. Then, he’d take us outside. We’d go around the neighborhood until it was time for lunch. That’s all well and good if your dad is an amazing parent, but if your dad is anything like mine, chances are you’ll be spending most of your childhood playing video games instead of doing other fun activities.
As much as I loved video games, they weren’t the only thing I enjoyed playing with when I was a kid. There were so many toy-filled days where we’d spend hours playing with whatever new toys came out. It was awesome! I felt like I was part of some secret club whose members got to have access to all of these crazy toys and games. So, when I started having children of my own, I was excited to introduce them to these same kinds of toys. However, I quickly learned that they didn’t care for some of these toys nearly as much as I did. My boys didn’t seem to enjoy some of the toys I brought into their home. They liked others, sure, but not as much.
I’m not saying that everyone has to love every toy that comes into their house. In fact, I think parents should keep in mind what types of toys work best for each individual child. But I can definitely say that I’ve noticed that certain toys tend to overwhelm and frustrate my sons. These toys are ones that I know my husband and I would never buy or even touch ourselves. But, after spending time with them and watching them interact with them, I can see why these toys are so popular.
I remember one specific game from my childhood that I absolutely loved. It was called “Hot Potato.” It was basically a ball with a string attached to it. You’d toss it to someone else who could then pass it back to you. If you lost it, you had to give it to the next person in line. After awhile, the string broke and the game was over.
While I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I first played this game, I remember it being incredibly exciting and fun! At least, it seemed exciting and fun at the time. Now that I look back on it through adult eyes, I can see how “hot potato” might be considered a bit dangerous. What happens when the ball falls down the stairs or slips off of a table and breaks? You’re suddenly stuck with a ball that no longer has any use. Who wants that kind of responsibility?
But that’s not what makes this game so appealing to kids. No, it’s because when you’re given this opportunity to pass the ball to another player, you have to make sure you get it right. You have to make sure that you’re passing the ball to the correct person by either catching the ball yourself or waiting for the person to catch it before you hand it over. In short, it forces kids to focus on something else besides themselves.
This type of game is similar to another common toy that I used to enjoy as a child. This toy was also known as “Hot Potato.” However, instead of a ball, it involved a small plastic car. It wasn’t very big and barely moved. It was basically a hot potato that could move. You could bounce it against the wall and watch it roll around. Or, you could make it jump up into the air and see it fly off of the table.
At the end of each round, the object would stop moving and start to spin. This meant that the next player needed to catch the car before it fell to the ground. Once again, it forced us to focus on something else other than ourselves. I remember looking forward to these rounds because they were always so much fun. I’m not sure if that’s what made these objects so appealing, but it was certainly part of the reason.
So now that I understand how these types of sensory toys worked, I wanted to try creating my own version of a “Hot Potato” type of game. But, since I didn’t want to invest money into something that I knew wouldn’t be appreciated by my children, I decided to create a more simple and inexpensive alternative.
A person can just check it out and get the detail of the various options. A person can do the complete research and finally select the option that will give good results. In the long run the option will prove to be a good one. The main motive of the people is to reach the goals in the effective and efficient manner.
I created a set of three different balls that spun on a base. Each ball had its own color and made noise when it rolled around. When I tossed one of the balls to my son, he needed to catch it with both hands and then hold onto it while I took it away. If he caught it, he could then let go and the ball continued rolling. If not, I would grab it again and bring it closer into view.
Once he caught it, he held onto it and we then took turns tossing it back and forth. Each time we got it, we’d wait for it to stop spinning and then take it back. As soon as it stopped rotating, we had to make a decision about which of us would take it. We could let the ball run off, but there was still a chance that it would hit someone or something else on the way to the floor.
We eventually came to the conclusion that letting the ball continue to spin would be safer. We would eventually lose interest in the game and decide to move on to something else. Once we decided to let the ball continue to spin, we had to make sure that we held onto it in order to avoid it falling on our heads or getting thrown into walls.
The game ended when the ball reached the floor or when one of us dropped it. Either way, it was over. My sons really enjoyed this game. They were able to control the speed that the ball moved around and the noise it made. While it may not have been quite as exciting as the real “Hot Potato,” it was still a fun activity.
Now that my kids are older, I find myself thinking back on the toys that they enjoyed more than the toys that I would consider “safer.” For example, when my daughter was younger, she spent a lot of time playing with plastic trucks that could drive across the floor. She loved the way they sounded and drove around her room. My mom and I bought several of these toys for her. At the time, however, we thought that they’d be safe enough for her to play with.
Now that she’s older, she doesn’t seem to enjoy these toys nearly as much. She likes to pretend that she’s driving the truck, but she doesn’t like the sound that it makes. She doesn’t like it when the truck runs off of the tracks and smashes into the wall. Because of this, she tends to prefer the cars that I mentioned earlier. These toys aren’t as loud as the trucks, but they offer her a little more variety.
So, as you begin shopping for toys for your children, I hope that you’ll take note of the types of toys that they prefer. This will help you to ensure that you’re buying them something that they’ll enjoy. Remember, some kids need a little extra stimulation when it comes to toys. They need to be challenged in order for them to grow and develop. Don’t ever forget that! But, when you’re shopping for toys, be sure to choose toys that your children will actually appreciate and enjoy.