We live in a seriously technology-obsessed age, where most of us seem to struggle to make it through a day without constantly staring at our smartphones every few minutes in order to keep up to date with our emails, or the latest developments on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.
That’s not to mention the fact that, when we arrive home from the office, we’ll routinely spend our evenings slumped in front of the TV watching our favorite shows, if not sat at the computer, Googling random facts and bits of trivia.
Technology offers many amazing benefits, but it’s important to maintain the right balance between the hours we spend staring at screens, and the time we spend engaging with the world more directly. While adults can be expected to strike this balance, kids are another matter.
Research suggests that children who spend too much time staring at screens may suffer various serious developmental issues. Here are a few more general reasons why you should focus on giving your kids low-tech toys to play with.
Imagination is one of the greatest gifts in life and deserves to be nurtured
Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that all of the great inventions we enjoy in the world, including our computers, are the result of people’s imaginations in one way or another?
Everything that makes its way into the physical world of human artifice is first a thought floating in someone’s mind. Imagination is, therefore, one of the greatest gifts in life — and it deserves to respected and nurtured.
“Old-fashioned” low-tech toys force a child to engage their imagination in ways that video games simply can’t.
Low-tech toys encourage your kids to interact with the world
One of the insidious things about digital technology is that it allows you — or your child — to get completely lost in the world of cyberspace, to the extent that you barely notice the real world all around you, if at all.
Low-tech toys, on the other hand — things like dolls or a wooden baby walker — require interaction with the wider world. Even the most imaginative child will be hard-pressed to sit and stare blankly at their favourite toy for hours in the way they would with the TV or computer.
Instead, it’s much more likely that they’ll take their toys “for a walk”, or build a fort for them in the garden and stage mini battles, or do any number of other activities which involve engaging with the wider world.
Low-tech toys encourage social interaction with others
When children are playing with low-tech toys, they will often be more inclined to include other kids in their games, and to create a shared world of adventure in the process.
If your child is preoccupied by an iPad on the other hand, it’s likely that they won’t have any trouble at all remaining completely solitary throughout the entire “play” session.
Get your kids some low-tech toys, and put them in environments where there’ll be other kids for them to interact with.