Killing creativity?

The other day while taking a commercial break from my regularly scheduled programming, I started tuning out the television when I heard a tv parent yelling at their child to “go play video games.”

Was this some sarcastic commercial? Did I accidentally switch to a bad family sitcom? I wondered… but no. This was a tv ad for learning toys – video game learning toys.

Oh the joys of technology. Let me first clarify that I’m not a parent. And believe me, I have no intention of criticizing the great strides of technology in the development of learning toys. I believe they are a great form of teaching children – especially if learning can be disguised as a game.

I do worry technology is taking over the minds of even our youngest generations, and I am advocating for the preservation of traditional toys that foster creativity and imagination.

Remember the days of playing house and forcing your little sister to be the puppy? The day your mom was feeling extra patient and got out the finger paint? That time on the swing set when you and your best friend pretended that you were in a rocket ship and the candies you smuggled in for recess were the fuel that propelled you to go higher?

Let’s not lose those days of imagination.

My mom was an in-home “professional” babysitter until I was in junior high, so although I have no children, I can say I’ve watched plenty of kids develop throughout my years.

In my own babysitting adventures (quite possibly inspired by both my mom and “The Babysitters Club” book series), I had a tote bag that I carried with me to my babysitting jobs. It contained coloring books, art supplies, games, homemade Play-Doh, books, stickers and more. I always smiled when I walked in the door, because the tv was immediately turned off and the kids came running to see what was in my babysitting bag for that night.

I just can’t imagine sticking a video learning game in that bag – regardless of its learning capabilities.

Technology has given us amazing things, and I believe there’s a time and place to explore them. But let’s not kill creativity in the process.