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I broke my arm twice on a playground, the first falling from a climbing dome and the second from the monkey bar, both before fourth grade. What I remember is learning not take huge, physical risks that yielded little reward. I became a better climber and a better mental negotiator. These are the kinds of risks children should have to make early in their lives. Sure, we shouldn't create playground equipment that poses a death threat, but we take it too much to the opposite extreme. It isn't helped by helicopter parents, the type who leer at me when my young daughter scales the rock climbing wall without me standing under her ... I digress. There are great examples of children's playgrounds in Europe where kids are encouraged to explore, climb and adventure. Unfortunately, our kids don't get that same experience, and yes, I think it handicaps them.
Loved that game. I was in D&D summer camps. My warlock's name was Thor. I am a geek. At one point, I was a dungeon master, which in our circle just meant that I would draw the environment on graph paper, flip through my D&D books and choose monsters and other challenges to face, then let my friends "walk" through it. It was a real life "Choose Your Own Adventure" that was limited only by my imagination and the luck of the dice. Looking back, it did promote creativity and imagination to a far greater degree than most of the other toys we used. The problem was that it wasn't the most popular with the girls ... so ended my D&D career. Love Stephen Colbert more now, that is for sure!
Great article, Bruce, and I completely agree. I never go to the local TRU in our town because it is full of clutter, has very little help, and the bathrooms are absolutely filthy! There is a great store chain in Charleston called Wonderworks, that knows how to make the event entertaining. The clerks are happy, energetic, and typically will shove a toy in your hand as soon as you walk in. They hold outdoor festivals and allow vendors, like us at Wild Creations, to participate and sell products. It is truly an "experience" more than a shopping trip. The convenience of ordering on and for our toys, not to mention no need to visit filthy bathrooms with our children, is going to be tough, if not impossible to overcome for retailers. Creating this experience is about the only way I see it happening. I wrote about it in more detail here: Great article! Thanks for sharing!
Great topic! If you haven't seen this TedTalk, check it out: There is a reason it is the most watched TedTalk. Personally, I think we should have MORE school ... longer days, year round school, and teachers should move with their kids through at least two grades (since a great majority of the school year is getting back up to speed at the beginning and winding down at the end) ... BUT, it has to come with the understanding that when kids can't sit still or pay attention, it's not because they have ADD, it's because they are kids, and they need to balance school with breaks, exercise, engagement, fun, creativity, music, foreign languages, dancing ... play. Of course, that's just a dream. Thanks for covering it!
My kids have no problem "deconstructing" any Lego/Duplo buildings and structures we build (and that I build in particular) in epic "Godzilla" fashion. They are ruthless!
Agreed, Richard. This case should be watched very carefully by everyone in the toy industry and beyond. Another way to look at this case is that a very small set of parents improperly handled a product that was clearly labeled and marked, and ultimately it lead to several children being harmed. Where is the personal responsibility in the home? If Zucker is found personal liable for the damages that were caused by this very small set of individuals, the ramifications will be far reaching and quite frightening. I have heard that CSPC targeted Zucker personally because he personally attacked the CSPC while the case was being reviewed. I really don't want to believe that the CSPC pursues these cases for vengeful reasons, but honestly, I can't figure out why they are spending so much time chasing after magnets, when clearly (dare I say) guns cause far more child deaths every year. Anyway, good article.
Congrats Kathleen!
Yeah, blowing up stuff (*grunt*). Cool.
This is a tough call. I understand why Hasbro might keep to a girl-only angle ... more girls use the EBO (no data on this, just a hunch), so why not focus advertising on the target market? Personally, however, I think a gender neutral campaign would not affect sales at all. In fact, Hasbro could take a lesson from the NFL ... clearly, more men watch, follow and obsess about football, but marketing and advertising typically include women and men together. I don't think this affects anyone's view of the NFL and in fact encourages more women to be fans. On a side note, a bigger issue than gender neutrality in toys is the attitude of YouTube viewers, as demonstrated in the comments under the video. As one commenter stated ... "re: comments in this vid ... humanity is really doomed". Sad.
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Dec 7, 2012