Wednesday, March 08, 2006

intelligent toys

My son Jack had been quietly playing with his Meccano set when we heard him scream, sweet!

What a cool toy, my friend Dave said, it's a ferris wheel. It's a solar powered ferris wheel, said Jack. Dave asked me, How did you get him to play with educational toys, my son only wants to play video games. I asked Dave whether he had ever played educational games or built rockets or space toys with his son. I'm not really a hands on guy was his answer. So I proceeded to demonstrate to Dave that educational toys teach skills that all successful adults use in everyday life. I told him that construction toys require imagination and planning. Robots require the use of logic. Strategy games require competitiveness and forethought. And of course crafts require creativity. I think that's a bit too technical for my son, said Dave. Well, why don't you start with some magic. Most tricks are scientific illusions that require planning and practice. Or how about simply building a plane,train or automobile with him, a real mechanical toy. This way he can see how all the pieces interconnect to achieve a common goal, like a team of components. My son likes to collect baseball cards, said Dave. Well how about starting a bug collection or rock collection. It just might inspire him to be a geologist or entomologist. Of course you could always get him some anatomy models, so he can be a surgeon like his dad.