in the 'Tiser this morning. Someone has been doing some research and discovered that children benefit more from old-fashioned toys than from electronic whizz-bang gadgets like Game-Boys (or whatever the present fashionable must-have item is).
I read the story and wondered why it is that such an obvious piece of research needed to be done and that it should need to be front page news. Children's play is, or should be, their work.
We keep a range of decidedly old fashioned but child friendly construction type toys in this house. My father has an interest in such things. He likes to make them, to design building sets and teach children how to put Meccano nuts and bolts together. My nephews loved the stuff and the Lego they had at home. At secondary school they could put together working Lego-technic models for school projects while the other students were trying to work out how one brick fitted into another.
My cousin's six home-schooled darlings descend every so often and out come the bricks, the Tinker-toy, the Meccano, the manipulative puzzles and everything else. (They know where to find them.) They also head for the book-shelves and go away with a sizeable load of books each time. My young neighbour Ciaranne heads in at weekends, borrows books and makes things from the 'junk' I keep in a box just for her. Last summer it was a puppet theatre with puppets. We wrote a play and she took it back to school. At the moment she is making a light-house and wants to put a "proper flashing light inside".
These children do not watch much television. It is not denied to them but it is not encouraged and it is limited. They get to use the computer but they do it under supervision. They do not own high tech toys. They are smart, funny, creative, able to hold a conversation and good fun to be with. Nobody needs research to observe that.