Table of contents:
- Psychologists and educators in Germany about life without toys
- Ethologists about the meaning of the game or the game is a serious matter
- Games and toys for noble children
- Games and toys for peasant children
- Comments on the article
I have two children. And I have always been, as they say, an active mother, that is, I tried to give my children the best. From what seemed good to me. My oldest son was born just at the beginning of the boom in "educational toys" and books like Growing a Genius. Educational toys quickly became fashionable and were liked by many parents. Still would! Not just toys, but a useful thing, I bought more of these toys, gave them to the child "on, baby, develop" - and you are a good parent!
Just don’t think that I’m writing about other parents. No, this is me exclusively about myself.
I, too, was captivated by the idea of educational toys. I went to exhibitions, climbed on special sites, talked to everyone who seemed to me more experienced and advanced parent / educator than me. While mastering educational toys with my son, I simply had to “return to childhood” and play with them myself. Why? Because he somehow did not strive to play them …
And so we “played” with him: we threw geometric figures into the sorter and named them (triangle, oval, circle, etc.), put shapes in frames (again geometric or - which is a little more fun - animal figures).
And I quickly realized that I personally don't like these toys at all. And I don't want to play them. With them it is impossible to come up with a single fantastic story, not a single live game. They cannot be loved, pressed to oneself
After observing my son, I saw that he also did not want to "develop" in science, but still strives to build a house, ride a typewriter, splash in a puddle, hammer a nail with his dad, or bake pies with his mother or wash the floor … toys that I bought, my son played only with a construction set and a car (you know, one that you can ride, pushing off the floor with your feet).
By inertia, I continued to respect developmental toys. And she considered herself a lazy mother, whom she would never "reach" or who just tried little … And I always yearned when the time came to play with my son - and I didn't want to play, but I had to, and you thought badly of yourself ….
But once, when my friend began to complain to me: "Can you imagine, I bought a development center for my son for insane money, but he did not even come up to him, but he was happy with an inflatable penny ball all day!", I suddenly thought (especially since the development center was before my eyes) that the boy was right. How IT can be played!
I remembered my childhood, my toys and games … Nothing special - dolls, daughters and mothers, a shop, building "little houses", playing with water, soups and porridge made from sand and compote from clover, candy wrappers … But games always gave me pleasure. You see, it was nice to pour sand into a saucepan, pour water, make ladies and gentlemen from matches and flower heads and arrange balls, wrap stones in a piece of paper and count coins while playing in the store … And the whole point of the game was only that it brought joy.
I don't remember we MISSING. And my eldest son was clearly bored. And his buddy too. They had a sea of toys - compared to my childhood, but there was no play and lively interest.
And I've already thought about what kind of toys children need? Do they need them at all? And why don't these correct educational toys make children happy, but make them bored?
And I really wanted to ask other parents:
1)What toys and games do your children play?
2) Are they bored or not surrounded by toys?
3) What are your kids really happy about?
4) You have never noticed that children play even without toys - with helpers, as they say, means - pots, baskets, rags, cones, i.e. with any items? Has it ever occurred to you that the toys that we recklessly buy (and spend a lot of money on them) are not really needed by children or even not needed at all?
5) Don't you think that if teaching a child that he cannot / does not want at his age means trying to make him someone who he is not, i.e. just don't accept him for who he is. Maybe he will acquire some skills, but will he use them? and will it make him happy?
And you really want to be happy. Have you noticed that both children and adults are happy and rejoicing, looking at the balloon flying into the sky?
Psychologists and educators in Germany about life without toys
Life without toys sounds pretty sad, but in reality it turns out quite the opposite. This idea has been tested in practice in many kindergartens in Germany. The result of this seemingly dubious experience turned out to be very positive: children conflict with each other less and - to the surprise of skeptics - they miss much less.
Some parents liked the result so much that they took the idea into service and began to arrange a "weekend for toys" and at home.
Finding themselves without toys, children become - contrary to the expectations of adults - very active, they begin to come up with new ideas for games. They "turn on" imagination and turn the most common household items into toys. A table, chairs, stools, pillows, tablecloths or sheets become very valuable items to play with. But - and this is the most important thing - the importance of play partners grows incredibly, children become very important to each other
The idea of "the toys went on vacation" originated in the mid-90s in Bavaria in Catholic kindergartens. Parents met this idea with great skepticism. She was tested in several groups, the "vacation of toys" reached up to 3 months a year.
The kindergarten teachers in which the experiment was conducted found that during the "toy vacation" children communicate with each other more interested, their relationship becomes stronger, so the children feel more confident in the team. Such vacations have a very positive effect on the development of speech.
Progress in this area has impressed educators and parents the most. After the experiment, the children were asked what they lacked, and they called, as a rule, bricks, Lego constructors and dolls. Those. those toys that require activity from the child.Not a single child complained of boredom!
The observations of educators from Bavarian kindergartens are complemented by the experience of Waldorf kindergartens and forest kindergartens (analogues of our forest schools), where children practically do not have ready-made toys. Children play in nature with sticks, stones, chestnuts, handkerchiefs and other similar "simple" things - and do not complain about life.
The idea of a "vacation for toys" is an occasion for us adults to think again and remember (we find numerous examples in our own history and in the culture of other nations): in order to play, children do not need special items, everything they need to play is inside them.
Ethologists about the meaning of the game or the game is a serious matter
Ethologists see games as training, checking the fulfillment of innate programs of behavior. Young animals play a lot - with each other, with their parents, with cubs of other species, with objects. Games are not only a pleasant pastime, they are necessary for full physical and mental development. Deprived of games, cubs grow up aggressive, cowardly. Their reactions to situations, especially when in contact with other individuals, are often erroneous. If, say, the lion cubs don't play, they won't be able to hunt when they grow up.
Games of catch-up, hide and seek, dads and moms, feeding dolls, caring for them, fighting, collective struggle (war) - all familiar themes of children's games in common with animals. Therefore, children so easily find a common language and play with puppies, kittens, kids. Passion for the construction of primitive decking, huts, craving for caves, hollows ("house games") - this is a purely human innate program. Children like constructions prepared by adults much less than those unsuitable from the point of view of an adult objects that children find in nature or their surroundings.
Games and toys for noble children
… We had the simplest toys: small smooth balls or pieces of wood, which we called chocks; I was building some kind of cells out of them, and my sister loved to destroy them, waving her hand.
Games and toys for peasant children
Girls at any time of the year, from a very young age, loved to play with ankles. They saved up these joint bones, left over from lamb jelly, stored them in special birch bark pestles, and even painted them on occasion. The game was not gambling, although it was very long …, developing dexterity and quick thinking. The most agile kept three or four ankles in the air at a time, threw in new ones and managed to catch them.
In the spring … little children set up "cages" somewhere in the hot weather, where the north wind did not fly. Two or three boards laid on stones instantly turned into a house, shards and fragments thawed out in the garden were transformed into expensive dishes. Imitating adults, 5-6-year-old girls walked from cage to cage, stayed, etc.
For boys, fathers or grandfathers necessarily made "carriages" - real carts on four wheels. The wheels were even smeared with tar so that they did not creak. In "carriages" the children carried "hay", "firewood", "went to the wedding", just rolled each other, taking turns turning into horses.
Comments on the article
Elena Abdulaeva (leading specialist of the Center for Games and Toys of the Moscow State Psychological and Pedagogical University, child psychologist, Waldorf teacher):
Indeed, there are toys that are so "primitive" from the point of view of modern everyday consciousness that there is nothing to look at. And nevertheless, they live in - really LIVE and different creatures can act. These can be images of a child, animal, old man or baby - with their own moods, desires, words and gestures. All this is breathed into them by the child's fantasy. There, in these simple toys and materials, THERE IS a place for this fantasy. No one better than the child himself will say for the doll what she wants to say, no one better than himself will understand what his toy puppy wants.
Interactive figurative toys - dogs, cats and various creatures unknown to science will say everything - even “I love you. Stroke me, and now hug me. " But the warmth and cordiality of relations does not live there. With them, the child goes numb. And / or turns into their prefix. At the same time, his own fantasy, ideas wither, die without being born.
The so-called developmental centers are a waterfall of various sensations for the perception of an infant, but there is no place for silence and the opportunity to concentrate, listen, repeat the action and calmly listen to your sensation from him. Rustling - singing - creaking of numerous artificial materials bring down a waterfall of sensations on the baby. Once among them, the child is forced to rush from one impression to another, not really delving into it. At first this enthralls, then excites and - tires the baby, but does not lead to the development of the ability of perception and attention.
It is really vital for children to feel into their capabilities, into the immediate environment, into the life of the elders around them - exactly in those objects and deeds that they have. Therefore, young children often ignore toys and prefer the real things, tools and materials of their parents to the most outlandish centers and models.This is a way of mastering the world of adults - through real objects and imitation of understandable, daily repetitive actions with them.
Playing and manipulating with unformed natural material carries a colossal cognitive and developmental potential. After picking up a piece of bark, a stick, etc. the child immediately perceives a huge variety of its properties, which are not possible, and even unnecessary for a normally developing child to break into parts. Perceives its shape, weight, size, surface quality and features, color and relationship with light; at the very first actions, he learns stability, elasticity, if he is lucky, buoyancy, deflation, ratio in shape and size with a hand, with other objects; explores what the thing is good for - rolling, digging, covering, sticking, looking through, turning into someone or something, etc.
All this in such a variety as nature does not provide any special, artificially created object. That is why a curved stick, a fancy stone, a flap of textiles carry much more diverse information than specially made standards.
At every age, this variety of properties and transformations of the same little-formed thing acquires its own meaning. Young children explore with enthusiasm the properties - for some reason, the object enters this saucepan, but this one does not. It sounds one way or another, easily wrinkles or does not change shape at all, whether it is kept folded or unfolded, can be stacked or not, etc.
Then the moment comes when the child recognizes an image in the unformed material. A pipe through which water flows, a phonendoscope that a doctor applies to his chest, a hunched-over old man, a deer with branchy antlers, etc. One simple thing awakens more and more new associations in him, new connections are being built that move further and further from the original given … This is the practice of the intellect. This growing multistage series, developing in a figurative game, means a much more varied, folded and multidimensional development than the choice of something "correct" from the already thought out combinations of adults.
The child himself asks and seeks confirmation of HIS "correct" according to those parameters that for him at the given moment came to the fore. Adults are often unable to grasp and appreciate this multifaceted variability of children's imagination, because play is not valued as a means of mastering and assimilating life. The game is supplanted by the assimilation of standards, tasks invented by someone, answers to questions that have not yet arisen for the child himself.
Meanwhile, studies show that by the age of 6 a child who plays with enthusiasm and imagination has a higher level of mental development than his "educated" "early-developed" non-playing peer. Independence, creativity, confidence in a child who plays with enthusiasm prevails over these qualities of early learners. Controlling your attention and focusing your actions, too. And most importantly, high-level communication with peers and such human valuable qualities as complicity and sympathy.
The toy, of course, should be attractive. But not just to attract with brightness, unusualness, to entertain with wonder, but to give a long-term JOY OF ACTION with it, the desire and the possibility of independent action, the search for the variety of its use. You still need to look for such REAL toys … But it is they that constitute an invaluable arsenal of development in the game.
Alena Lebedeva (host of the "Potyagushenki" course for young mothers with children from 0 to 1 year old. Family center "Christmas", mother of 6 children, midwife):
We have long understood that a child learns by playing, but the fact that while learning, he does not play, has gone away from our attention. Buying various educational tools for children, we not only distract them from the real game, we simplify their perception of the world, driving them into the concepts of "oval", "square", "triangle".Only in play does the child begin to make by his own experience what he has noticed in his leisure time in life. After all, if he does not speak this situation, does not lose in different versions, this experience will leave him, he will be forgotten. Indeed, pieces of matter, twigs, pieces of wood will give the child the opportunity to think and imagine, repeat and copy, expressing his attitude to this. But the transformer will carry out only according to the given scheme. The result is too final for the genius, which is every child from birth to 5 years old, to limit his fantasy.