Readers — As I prepare to speak Thursday night as kickoff for the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s conference in Boston (public invited!), here’s some toy research I can get behind. It comes to us by way of Fred Schueler & Aleta Karstad, who describe themselves as an “unemployable naturalist couple, whose unschooled daughter and her friends were designated the ‘Free-Range girls’ in the mid-1990s.” This study was conducted on their grandson. You can read about the family’s Free-Range exploration of Canada here. – L.
MANUFACTURED TOYS USELESS, RESEARCH FINDS
Bishops Mills, Ontario. 22 Dec 2012. A recently released study, conducted by the Centre for the Study of One Thing and Another, has found that, at least for 7-month old male children, manufactured toys have no recreational benefits when compared to objects just found around the house.
In the study, Norway Spruce cones, beer glasses, partially emptied bottles of dietary supplements, and cardboard boxes with holes in the bottom were compared with a variety of molded plastic objects marketed as toys for young children. Attention was measured as the duration of mouthing and handling, and of regretful looks when the object was removed. In every case, the household objects held the attention of the subject for longer periods than the manufactured toys. Grandfathers, used as a control, held the subjects’ attention slightly longer than the found objects.
When advised of these results, Flimsy McFluster, CEO of Mettle Toys, a well-known international toy trafficker, said, “I guess we’ve been doing it wrong all along. I’ll recommend to our share-holders that we discontinue sales and production. We’ll be sending all our current stock to incineration.It won’t take much retooling to switch to making useful objects, which we now know will give the children more pleasure than our current line of geegaws.”
Deborah Saywhat, head of the Canadian Toy Manufacturers Association, said that her organization was planning a merger with the Canadian Junk Dealers Association, and would henceforth spare the public their distressing annual evaluations of toys, “which this new research has shown are worthless.” – Mom & Dad
You mean…I’m no more fun than a pinecone?