Our children are our future and that future learns through play. For the last few years, we have watched as high-tech gadgets adults love have also become kids' favorite playthings.
It's no secret that the greatest decade for toys was the 1980s. If you look down a modern toy aisle, you still see the Transformers and My Little Pony...
When I was growing up in the 1970s, the end of Thanksgiving signaled the countdown to Christmas. What a time; watching animated specials on TV, preparing speeches for the school play, drawing winter scenes of fireplaces and reindeer-laden roof tops, and making a wish list for Santa. They were the happiest days of my childhood.
During the holiday season, people always ask me what these children really need to thrive. And I wish it were something we could find at a toy store.
You may know that Dr. Seuss's real name was Theodor Geisel. But bet you didn't know this: The Cat in the Hat could not be published today. Repeat: It couldn't make the cut.
I maintain that the 1980s produced some of the most kick-ass, memorable and, at times, weird and creepy toys.
Not a square foot to spare on the bustling streets of New Delhi. It was my third trip to India, and I was 15 years old. I couldn't handle it.
Aside from potentially making learning fun (heaven forbid), it turns out toys can teach us a lot that we should be learning, but our antiquated systems of education are failing miserably to provide.
Hand-wringing business reporters say that because the stores were worried about a soft season, they ordered 2 percent fewer toys this year, which is probably a lot of toys. It's one of those Christmas danger stories: "Not enough toys!"
Focus on toys that will teach your children something new, broaden their horizons about who they become and give them the lasting gift of sparking their imagination and teaching them new ways to think about the world.
Kids need to play. It is vitally important to their development. But they don't need to play with Elmo or a hunk of plastic that recites the alphabet with a twang or a drawl. Kids need to play with us and with each other and all alone.
Lucky me and lucky mankind, it appears that you have a whole line of (trademarked!) Apptivity™ products. No neck control? No problem! It's not just the iPad that's locked up. It's the newborn as well!
We even overcame a last minute attempt to delay the vote by Republican members of the Commission. We persevered, got the job done, and children can sleep safer in the cribs used in childcare center centers and for sale today.
Do all girls like pink? Do all girls want to play princess and be rescued by a prince? I am passing on the pink and getting science and tinkering toys for my nieces. I've seen how toys like these can turn a girl on to a new interest and even a lifelong passion for science or engineering.
Are toy drives the most effective way to help others? How does the impact of a toy drive compare to other charitable opportunities? Since the money you are able to give to charity is limited, are toy drives worthy recipients?
Perhaps ironically, the toys that parents are pushing each other out of the way to buy are themselves aimed to train the shopper in the fine art of mayhem and competition.