Today I read about a new doll that will mimic breastfeeding and cry if it isn’t burped. Do the manufacturers understand the three important stages of play? Do they appreciate that one of the vital components is imagination and they are systematically removing that ingredient from the formula required to create a healthy inquisitive human being?
With the doll comes a special smock for the child to wear. It has two flowers strategically placed to imitate the nipple area. When the baby’s mouth is brought close enough to one of the flowers it simulates the sucking motion and sound of a baby feeding. Then it will cry if it is not burped. Baby No More Tears, Baby that wees, Baby that poos, Baby that cries Mama – we have enough dolls that have removed the need for imagination. What comes next? A special pouch the child wears to give birth, complete with umbilical cord that needs cutting and a placenta? Enough!
Visual media entertainment has already gone 3D in an attempt to recreate reality. Children’s books are as fast-paced as the action in films and they are veering away from using their minds. In every area of society they are being spoon-fed an idealistic virtual reality and god help them if, when they grow up, they are unable to achieve the same.
We are slowly encouraging a state of apathy in mind, body and soul until all we shall have left controlling the future is a set of mindless drones who haven’t the imagination to accept that reality is what you make of it and it isn’t wrong if it’s different!
My son’s favourite toy is his Lego. He will sit there and create and play and build and destroy and recreate; either on his own or with friends; he will bring other toys into the mix to play different parts. My daughter used to love her horses and farm sets, groups of animals for whom she’d create buildings and barns from cardboard boxes, pails from thimbles, haystacks from twigs…
Imagination is a wonderful thing. Let them get on with it!