My theory about toys is this: it's not about what the toy can do, it's what the child can do with the toy. This is why I am way, way over toys that blink, sing, shake, sparkle, and generally act like a mental anesthesizer for the girls. I realize that a lot of research goes into toy manufacturing and marketing. However, after working with Ellie in play therapy for three months, plus everything else I've learned about early childhood in graduate work, I am convinced unless toys encourage children to ask the following questions, they need to be thrown out.
--what does it do?
--what CAN it do?
--what can I do with it? (how can I, within my power and knowledge right not, act upon this thing at this moment)
--what else can it be used for?
--if I do this to it, what happens?
--can I mimic something I already know with it? (I have found this to be true with anything that vaguely resembles a phone...if it looks like it could have a receiver and a mouthpiece, Helen is talking into it).
Right now I am into wooden toys, not for their greenness or hoity-toity "it fits into my design asthetic" ness, but because they are very "blank" for Ellie. They require her to explore and act upon them in ways a lot of toys do not. I am interested in Plan Toys especially, and am going to browse their website soon.