It will never cease to amaze me that despite all the money, thought and effort my DH & I put into finding educational and appropriate toys for my son (2 1/2 years old), he has pretty basic needs and wants. We are still working on the new house and he loves it! In fact, he talks about the "new houuuuuse" all week long. Not because of the big fabulous kitchen (...swoon...), or because of all the added room or even the perfect "hidey hole" off his bedroom. No, he loves the new place because of the dirt.
Currently our apartment has a pad out back and the rest is gravel, so in my son's short lifetime he has not been regularly exposed to dirt. I guess this was the missing ingredient we needed. He has his faithful shovels & bucket and can now occupy himself for hours. He is oblivious of everything else in the world. He doesn't care if it is cold, wet or if he should be eating lunch. He just has a primal drive to play in that dirt.
So I wonder, why is my living room littered with molded plastic doo-dads and electronic gizmos? Even going to friends' homes they seem to have the equivalent of a small toy store to entertain their toddler. Is it really necessary? Should we spend more time fostering creativity through the simple (and free!) things like dirt?
I often joke that my son, the oldest, is our learning experience and the other children will benefit from it. What I have learned so far is that even with a room full of fabulous 5-star rated toys, my son can become bored easily. They just don't require as much imaginative play. Currently he enjoys cooking with me, playing outside, art projects and reading books the best. Amazingly, those are the easiest and least expensive activities we could do and they have the added benefit of being activities we can do together. Fabulous, isn't it?
So, what basic needs does your child have? I bet if you think about it, they are simpler to meet than you imagine. They might just require a little dirt.
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