Has the modern world destroyed children’s imagination?
So my little boy LOVES LEGO. Like many other 10-year-old boys he seems to turn into a mini engineer as soon as you put a LEGO set in front of him yet still struggles with simpler tasks like washing his face.
His last mammoth LEGO build was after his last birthday when he brought the robots, rockets and miscellaneous tech from the latest blockbuster to life; I commented how the instructions just frustrated me and how remarkable it was that he had the patience to do it. A couple of days later he said to me: “Mummy, you said you used to like LEGO, have I ruined it for you?” It was a question I laughed off but it then got me thinking about how I used to play and what is different nowadays.
When I was a child LEGO was just a jumble of coloured bricks and the magic was that I turned it into whatever I wanted. I’d end up with a physical manifestation of my imagination and I adored that. I didn’t need to follow rules or instructions I could just play freely.
I’m sure the sets that my son is building are doing wonders for his motor skills and his ability to translate 2D pictures into 3D shapes but are they really letting his imagination go wild the way mine did?
It seems I’m not the only Mum worrying about their child’s imagination however; Playmobil recently carried out some research that on modern playing habits and highlighted that many parents worry that modern toys often don’t challenge a child’s imagination the way theirs was.
The research was aimed at 1,500 parents of 5-11 year olds, and found that 9/10 parents in the East of England wished their children used their imagination more. The survey also showed that choice of toys in the home is the cause of much conflict with the ‘typical family’ having five arguments a week when parents try to remove gadgets from their kids!
Perhaps I’m being a little tough on my son and his LEGO obsession. Yes he might not be building the uni-tyranno-phant from his dreams but he is at least battling with imaginary ninjas which is highly preferable to having to wrestle tech from his hands. Perhaps I’ll chuck a few plain bricks his way too though and see what happens…