As a parent, you have heard time and time again how technology can both positively and negatively affect your child’s growth and development. You witness it with your own eyes every day. Children now spend an average of 6.5 hours a day staring at a screen whether it be television, iPad, cell phone. Our children are disconnected from the immediate world around them. Remember the days when your best friend was the kid next door and you spent hours together exploring the world and creating adventures? Some would say that that memory is still, in fact, a very real and very present thing. Others would suggest that it is a thing of the past, never to be realized again.
Take a moment and think of the term ‘unstructured play’. What does it mean? Simply put, it means to play without an end goal. Letting the imagination run wild. It’s easy to see that technology adds a sense of structure to play that imagination does not. Yes, with modern games, children can build their own worlds on a platform, but those digital platforms are still very limited and every one of them is operated with an end goal in mind. What is often forgotten is that when a child is using their imagination, creating and inventing new games, they are doing more than just playing. Studies show that this is a time when children develop very real and important skill sets such as collaborative work, decision-making skills, sharing, negotiating, and resolving conflicts. In real life, there is no reset feature as there are with digital games. Unstructured play enables children to handle their imagined worlds in ways that are applicable to everyday life.
This imaginative handicap is more than just a fault of the modern advances of technology. Parents have limited their children not just by handing their children tables and video games but by not giving them a solid example of what imagination at work looks like. Often times we parents buy new toys hand them to our kids and expect them to be entertained. What actually happens is that these toys, these new shiny items become synonymous to boredom. How often have you given your little one a new toy and within an hour they are telling you how they have nothing to do? This is because those new toys no longer spark a world of imaginative play where toy cars become rocket ships that take humans to outer space. If parents do not take the time to inspire and nurture that creative exploration, children will be highly lacking in that area.
Radio Flyer is a family owned company and they are committed to keeping that imagination and creative play alive. They brought to the world the little red wagon that countless children have used to create worlds beyond our hopes and dreams. Those little carts carried everything from babies to dinosaurs, they were rockets, boats, and planes. With this in mind, the company is now making moves to help transform the way children play and send them back to a moment in time when “fun, imagination and adventure reigned supreme”.
Radio flyer has been creating toys for nearly a century and aims to continue to get children unplugged and get them active again. With this goal in mind, Radio flyer launched their “Build-A” Platform. Through this platform, children can sit with their parents and create their very own imagination transportation vehicle. There are four options available which include, Build-A-Wagon , Build-A-Scooter , Build-A-Trike, and Build-A-Balance Bike. Imagine for a moment the joy that your child will take in creating this item that will not only come to fruition but that they will be able to play with and enjoy for years to come. This eliminates the boredom effect of getting just another standard toy off of the factory line. This is something that they created and that they can be proud of.
Christmas is quickly approaching. This season, take a moment and ask yourself a question. Will you buy something that will keep your child mildly entertained for a moment? Or will you provide them with an experience that they will never forget, an experience that will inspire them to create, imagine, and explore?
Find out more about Radio Flyer and their “Build-A” product line here.