June 1, 2011
Remember when kids played cowboys and Indians? Cops and robbers? Thundercats and Voltron? What kid ever wanted to play accountant? Are you raising your child to be a CPA by third grade? Give a kid this toy and you guarantee a fun afternoon of sitting alone at the kitchen table shuffling pretend TPS reports and refilling a crayon pen. Listen up people! Give your kid a ball and let him go outside. And if the weather is bad or your neighborhood is under siege by crack dealers and your child can’t go out, give him or her something better than this. If you want your kid to be Michael Scott when he grows up then give this office thing to him. I can’t prove it but I bet that the Son of Sam and Ted Bundy had this sort of toy when they were a kid.
But I do get that there may be a parent who works in an office and who carries a briefcase and their child may want one just like mommy’s or daddy’s. You know what would be fun for that kid? Making his own office toys! Why does every toy need to be bought in a store? This is especially true for little kids. Ask any parent what their kid’s favorite toy was and they will nearly all say “the box the toy came in.” Back before flat screen TV’s, an average living room set was a cube roughly the size of a Honda and weighed nearly as much. I had an old giant TV box that I turned into a fort. Did my Mom buy me a fort? No, I made it myself.
And that is what any kid can do. Let’s make an office set ourselves, shall we? First we need a briefcase. Maybe mom or dad has an old one. No? How about an old school bag? Or a shoebox- ask any kindergarten teacher, you can make anything out of a shoebox. The retail toy has a refillable crayon pen, so let’s put some real crayons and pens into the shoebox. It comes with a desk calendar, and luckily I have a few in a bottom drawer. They were giveaways from the local supermarket and Chinese restaurant. They are out of date but that doesn’t matter. This is pretend! Imagination! And speaking of pretend, the set comes with a pretend stapler but my child is responsible enough to use a real stapler without getting hurt so let’s put a small grade school stapler in the box too. And
don’t forget lots of paper to staple and color. The set has a pre-printed ID badge but my child made herself the President of Lisa’s Zoo and it sure was fun decorating a piece of cardboard from an old box to make a personalized badge with animal stickers. And a piece of tape or a safety pin puts it right on her shirt. Oh, did I mention that she made her own uniform too? I didn’t see that in the toy’s description.
Looking at the picture I see that the set comes with a pencil holder that is shaped like a can, so why don’t I wash out a can for her? I’ll be sure to check for sharp places around the rim. Now she can decorate it too. You know, looking around the house, I have lots of things that can go into the briefcase. I have pads and post-its, I have markers and construction paper, I have some old keys for her office and even a nice picture of the family to put on her desk. I see a pretend laptop in the picture but my child already has learning toys that look like a laptop, or I can even give her my laptop (you know, the one with the parental controls.)
The only thing the toy has that I don’t need to give my child is a cell phone. She’s too young; this would only encourage her to get the real thing. And the glasses? Why reinforce negative nerdy stereotypes?
And you know what else? Maybe I’ll take the $28 dollars I saved and take my daughter to the park this weekend.
I hope I made my point.