The Evils of Toys

By Herbert M. Shelton, From 'Hygienic Care of Children', 1931

Toys discourage the child in the normal exercise of its creative imagination. They teach a child to be wasteful. They teach the child to treat his possessions with indifference, carelessness and even with contempt.

The best toys a child can use are those he makes with his own hands. The toys so freely used today supplant the desire to create with the desire to buy. Children easily learn covetousness by seeing toy windows, toyshops and the toys of their playmates. Toys are painted in bright colors to catch the eyes of children. Toys are made to be active to attract the attention of children. Every means of salesmanship is employed to sell toys. Every advantage is taken of child psychology in the effort to load the childís arms with worthless toys - toys that last but a day and are forgotten.

Many factors in modern child life are unnatural and detrimental to child development. We do too much for the children. We teach them dependence. They should learn independence. They should be self-reliant. They should be permitted to depend on their own ingenuity. Let them build and create for themselves.

The city child is greatly handicapped in this respect. He has no playhouse, no workshop, no playground. There are no sticks and stones, no pieces of colored glass, broken crockery, bits of steel and iron for him to experiment with. Young ducks raised on hard floors, and never allowed in the water, never learn to swim. Their instinct for swimming is suppressed and, finally, lost altogether. Young children reared in city apartments never learn to create. Their creative instincts are suppressed. They need more of nature and less of books - more opportunity to create and fewer toys.

Every Christmas, the toy buying season, many children are overloaded with cheap toys. Fortunately, the toys donít last long. The children will smash them. Donít give your children toys. Donít teach them wastefulness and spendthriftiness. We often ruin our children and then blame the children. Prisons and electric chairs are the penalties they face when they grow op, and the blame should often be shouldered by the parents.

Evil Toys


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