Times change, but the basic toys for children really haven’t changed in centuries. Something round to bounce, to catch, to roll, to hit. Something square to stack, to build, to knock down. Manipulatives to… um… manipulate (doh!) would include puzzles, PlayDoh, dress-up dolls, Lego’s and Lincoln logs, lift-the-flap books, dress-up costumes, and cardboard boxes.

Many of the toys my children had, I also had or knew of as a child. You can still find them at the Vermont Country store. They still sell the Chatterbox phone by Fisher-Price even though I haven’t seen a phone like this in use in decades!

sorry - fuzzy cell phone image

My grandchildren have all of those AND their parent’s iPhone preschool gaming apps. In my generation the most flexible and dexterous finger is the index finger. In children and teens today, the most flexible and dexterous finger is not a finger at all. It is their thumb!

Increasingly the go-to entertainment and toys for children are electronic in one way or another. Watching Sesame Street, Barney, Veggie Tales, Blues Clues, Dora the Explorer, etc. — things labeled ‘interactive’ only exercise eyeballs and maybe a small portion of brain matter. Fortunately the Wii system (I *so* want one if only for Rock Band!) encourages more physical activity with the interactivity. The best ones promote problem solving and teamwork to move ahead.

As for me, I keep bottles of bubbles on hand, a package of balloons, balls in assorted sizes, crayons and books (LOTS of books) on hand for short people, rug rats, and young-at-heart visitors.

They still work.