Collins Comments

by Kelly Collins

Tinker Toys are 91 years old. It's amazing how enduring they are. They are now made of plastic; which is a shame. However, that they are still around at all is amazing.

The Slinky is over 50 years old and still made of metal though you can buy plastic ones.

Erector Sets were introduced at the same New York Toy fair and at the same time that Tinker Toys were. They too are still available.

I came up empty on some other of the old fashioned toys. Leggos, Lincoln logs and Bill Ding blocks.

I remember wind-up toys too that are strictly gone. I had an Italian made race car that was wind up which was a very well engineered piece. Wind-up toy trains as well. Both these favorite toys are now electric operated and now come with remote control. None of this amazes children these days. It takes a lot to impress them.

High school graduates of today were born into an age of computers, space travel, cell phones VHS and DVD players and electronic games. This dismayed me for a while because these things entertain the children without any creativity on their part. It amazed me to see children playing a basket ball video game when there was a real basketball sitting near by and a good hoop in the yard.

That got me interested in what children were playing with, and my dismay changed to wonder. Kids today have more stuff available to them than ever before. But that was true of my generation over  my parents generation. My dad called them play-pretties and I remember him saying, “We didn't have play-pretties like this when I was a kid.” That these toys mentioned are still around almost a century later says something about them. Observation has shown me that children have just added the newer electronic games to the things they like to play with. Building blocks, Lincoln logs etc., still get a lot of use. I have played electronic games myself and they are fun.

It used to irk me when my children were not impressed enough to want to get up and watch the launch of a satellite or Apollo rocket.

Now I realize they were no more impressed than was I about the things I was born to; like cars with heaters that were not an option but standard equipment.

I am no longer worried about the new electronic toys putting a damper on their imaginations and creativity. They still have and use the creative toys; and that computers hold no mystery for them is good, because they will have to deal with them every day of their lives.

It's a good thing in my opinion, what do you think.