Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The best toys are free!

Have you noticed that many toys for children are mostly useless? They are great for eye candy, yes, but children get the best entertainment from simple, everyday things - like a piece of string, a spoon and a plate, a newspaper - or shadows!

Every morning, I put out Puttachi's toys and watch her play. Her blocks are great for teaching her colours and stacking them up for her to topple. They are even better for her to rub her teething gums against them. But they are soon cast aside.

Nothing lights up her eyes like her Kangaroo handpuppet or her stuffed lion cub. But they too get the sack within minutes.

What really holds her interest are things we wouldn't even have noticed. Like the slip of paper with a grocery list. The cap of a bottle that has rolled under the table. A towel. A stray piece of thread. An ant. A drop of water.

When my cousin V was a kid of about 3 years, he had got hold of a largish carton, the kind that televisions come packed in. This simple brown cardboard carton held his attention for days on end. He set it up on the floor, sat in it, and it became a boat, and he the boatman. After rowing to his heart's content, he upturned it, sat on it, and it became a bus, and he the conductor. In a while, he sat it with the opening to the side, width parallel to the ground, and the opening became a door, and the box his house. After several hours of playing house-house, he placed the box with the length of the opening parallel to the ground, and it became a den, and he, a lion. He roared and roared and ate all of us up.

More than ten days did this carton engage him. A car would have remained a car, and a doll a doll. But a carton? It could become anything!

A few days ago, Puttachi spotted a spot of sunlight on the wall, and she was fascinated. She forgot everything else and played with the spot for more than fifteen minutes, and that is a lot to say for some one as restless as this kid is.


She tries to touch it.....





She can't! So she observes it closely.....



She tries again...... hey it is on my hand now!


She cannot understand it.
So she tries to lick it instead!




It is true. The best toys on earth are free!

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yay! I never thought I would do this, but I'm actually celebrating being the first person to comment on your post! :)

Very, very true. Toys that spark the imagination are what are required. And P is so cute - she looks adorable in the pics.

ano

Anonymous said...

Shruthi ..

a great post! loved to see puttachi's pictures .. her hair reminds me of your's when you were a little one.

You bet! no toy could fascinate a child as much as these simple objects of nature .. spot on the wall, your large shadow, running water , soap bubbles ..

C(bhel)

SloganMurugan said...

That's a priceless moment you have captured! :)

Altoid said...

I love the last stage, if you cant hold them, lick 'em :-)

And such a concentrated effort!

Shyam said...

Oh the little sweetheart :) Cant see her face but even the back of her head radiates concentration!

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

so cute! awesome set of pics! well done.

came here from abi's blog

Anonymous said...

came here from abi's blog.

totally agree - the best toys ARE free indeed! very nice set of pix btw!

- namrata

Aditi said...

she is so adorable!

Chitra said...

Tee hee.....cute! It is a wonder how fascinated kids can become by things considered so mundane by the grown-ups.

CP said...

sweet kid :) priceless moments indeed!

that reminds me one of my own - i had toppled a whole barrel and was playing for hours drenched and tapping castor oil on the floor. i dont know if i had licked :D aww.

rajk said...

The box/carton thing is so true for almost all kids..There was even a Visa ad that went something like: "the trendiest toy in the market----$xx.00, the Box that it came in----"Priceless"!!"
Despite having a whole lot of toys, my son still finds my pots and pans the best toys to play with...
BTW, hadn't realised Puttachi had grown so much.Still thought of her as the baby with the "Cockatoo" hair!

Stone said...

:-)

M said...

awwww.....this post really had my heart melt! Its soooooo true :-)) I remember watching my little cousins doing the same thing. Its a precious moment! Watching Puttachi lick the little drop of sunshine was reallllly lovely :)

Usha said...

So true - I remember that we hardly got any toys but never were bored. I think this had something to do with finding different uses to the limited supply of things we had.
Lovely pictures of Puttachi playing with sunshine - Now everyday is going to be a discovery for her and you through her.
This is the most beautiful phase of their growing up.

Srikanth said...

great post.
The "The cap of a bottle that has rolled under the table" is so true. My kids would always find something interesting under the sofa, go there and bang their heads to the sofa.

If you lie on your tummy next to your crawling kid and watch the events in the house for a while, it is a whole new world down there. you'll see small dust particles with great respect now. you'll see their unseen other 2 dimensions and if light plays a trick on them, they'll have elongated shadows. if your floor is reflective, that adds to the picture as well. while you are down there, you also realise how snakes and other small animals view the world. you'll watch only the magnified legs of humans around you. no wonder crawling kids dont like to be picked up.

life is as rich as you can recognise. your posts prove that point. Heege blogtha iri :-)

Anonymous said...

Excellent post , so true
great pics

cardboard cartons,discarded specs, vessels, newspapers,bathroom mug, bathroom mat, most faded cushion( one that we scramble to hide), mother's homeclothes,etc Plus, as you mentioned, nature + kid = total pure joy

Anonymous said...

Hey Shruthi,

It's too gud specially the way u express it. I think it's a story of every kid, just think of their creativity, the way kids tries to explore the new things, how they tries to put their all imagination with small stuffs like carton or lid roll down.....Keep sharing n expressing your views n priceless moments. I again appreciate ur post.

bru said...

great post shruthi. v v cute photos.
How patiently you have waited to capture the whole process ! I am sure putachi will be amused to see this when she grows up :) and will definetely appreciate her mom.

Srikant's comment to this post is very very interesting. :)

Lakshmi said...

Absolutely correct. My daughter had a fascination for slippers. And the broom.
And she has chased light beams from the window for hours in the afternoon, watching it move as the sun set.
Simple pleasures.

~nm said...

Ohh yes! So many times I have felt like a dud to buy toys, sometimes expensive, which hold no charm for Anirudh. And even if they do, its max for couple of hours.

its the things we think are such wastes like wrappers, torches, utensils, bottle caps etc that they find more interesting

Kadalabal said...

great post and yes any amount of toys will not facinate them than these strange things which they want to play with like puttachi in photos u have used the opporutunity very well caught her in camera wonderful so she has grown so big now 9 months old in 2 days u r really having a great time enjoy
pranesh

Manav said...

The pic are too cute!! You should probably give her a carton box with some holes that have light streaming through them. Then probably you could get your much-needed nap!!

Anu said...

Absolutely adorable pics! I have heard a theory that parents buy the toys that they have loved/missed/wanted when they were growing up. But for toddlers, everything is new and intersting and a play thing.

Sumana said...

Hello Shruthi, Is there an alternate email id to reach you? I tried reaching you at the one said on the site, it bounced back.

Melanie Gao said...

Your daughter is too cute! And I couldn't agree with you more about the best things in life being free. Why do we moms schlep around so much stuff for our kids when in fact they can entertain themselves just fine with whatever is on site at the doctor's office, the restaurant, on the bus, etc.

sumi said...

choo chweet :-)

this reminds me of a similar dog video. no, you need not feel offended as I rate canines much higher than humans

Neeku said...

Awweee! stumbled on your blog through Rahuls blog and now starting my day with a smile. Really adorable kid =) And a wonderful warm post :)

Abhipraya said...

Shruthiiiiii

You are tantalising us with the pictures! First her little finger and toes and hair now the back of her!

I am actually wanting to see Puttacchi! Not fair you know!

Hari said...

Superb post! Too cute. I have been reading most of your posts tagged under 'baby'. Absolutely delightful. You are a wonderful writer and a great mom :D

First time here, thanks to Desipundit. I have already bookmarked the page. :)

jottingsnmusings said...

Beautiful post Shruthi! I couldn't agree with you more. Don't believe in buying very expensive toys myself. Surely it's better that they learn to observe, explore and use their imagination.

Btw the husband is constantly peeking to see what kind of blogs I keep reading at home, and this is the first time he was hooked and wanted to read more! ;-)

And Puttachi is such a doll! What gorgeous hair! :-)

Sachin said...

For some reason I can't see the pictures!! :( As for Puttachi, I want my own too!!! :(

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