Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Lost Art of Play

We just stumbled upon an article by psychologist Dr Jim Taylor at the University of San Francisco lamenting the reduction in American children's play time. The article, in the 13 Oct 2009 issue of "Psychology Today", emphasises the importance of unstructured play in fostering creativity, cognitive and social skills, and independence, among other things. Dr Taylor argues that TV and overly structured "play dates" have resulted in a huge decline in outdoor play especially.

"Children are just too busy to play these days," claims Taylor, pointing to the pressures of homework, organized sports, music and dance lessons, and other structured activities. It sounds like Singapore, does it not? You might get better results, he says, by simply giving the kids a break.

Incidentally, a 2004 article in the same magazine suggests that parental "hyperconcern" (over-protectiveness) may be responsible for the growing number of psychologically fragile college age kids.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

The Good Toy Guide

The National Association of Toy and Leisure Libraries (UK) has published its 35th annual Good Toy Guide. To quote from the NATTL’s website, “All of the toys in this Guide are tested by children and the comments come from the children. Watching the children and the pleasure they get from the toys they are playing with is how we know what to tell you about each product.” At least 250 families (around 600 children) take part in the appraisal process.

The chosen toys include the Leapfrog “Learn and Groove Activity Station” and the Vtech “Alphabet Phonics Teacher”, both of which are stocked by the toy rental club. We stock other Leapfrog and Vtech products too.