On Toys.

By Alison November 13, 2007 4 Comments 2 Min Read


"You have come, of course, into an art gallery full of pictures and felt that sense of beauty that seems at first overwhelmng. Then little by little,  you select here a picture and there another that, for some reason or which which you cannot analyse, seem to satisfy you or meet your need or mood of that moment. The old critic may deplore your choice and deride your taste, but choice and taste they remain.

Now has it ever occured to you that a toy shop is like that to a child- a child art gallery? The breath almost leaves the tiny body  in the midst  of all the first wonder. The little hands reach out as if to snatch each seperate object, yet even as they close around a woolly dog, perhaps, the dancing eyes discern another toy quite different, one entirely unperceived by the elders looking on. Lead the child away if you will, but note how impatient he becomes to return to where he may feast his hungry gaze once more once more on that one toy- perhaps the very last toy you would have picked out for your child, just as the pictures you picked out in the art gallery were the last that a criic would have picked out.

Do you realise, you father or mother, what deep meaning may lie hidden  behind your child’s selection of that special toy? Do you understand the essential need that may prompt the want? It is often there, and if parents would only seek to analyse the child’s express desire , even for certain toys, child education and child welfare would in a very great measure cease to be the bugbears that they are today to all too many parents. The fact is, we parents are too prone to select our children’s "toys" to suit our own tastes rather than the needs of the little ones for whom they were designed."  

The Girls Own Annual, 1917.   


  1. Ali says:

    Shame modern parents fight a losing battle against the ceaseless flash and noise of advertising when it comes to influencing their children on just about anything.

  2. Grace says:

    Thanks for providing that glimpse into a child's perspective! I enjoyed it and will keep it close in thought when shopping for Christmas toys.
    I recently relented and bought a toy that I thought was "useless"; one that my 6 year old daughter REALLY wants…and ice cream maker. I kept telling her that I'd be more than happy to get her a gallon or 2 of store-bought ice cream, instead of having to go to the trouble of making it from a mix or, heaven forbid, from scratch! When I thought about it, though, I realized that this child (a self-professed future chef) may just learn something from the process of making her own ice cream and, if nothing else, will experience the satisfaction of creating something herself. How could I have even thought of robbing her of such a rich and valuable lesson?
    So, the ice cream maker will be under the tree, and the ice cream made from it will be the most expensive price-per-gallon of ice cream that I've ever had, but I will happily savor every spoonful.
    Sending smiles,

  3. Sasha says:

    How true this is, and how lucky a child may be if allowed their own 'quirky' choices by their parents.
    My sister is a perfect case in point. For her 3rd birthday she wanted nothing but NOTHING but a giant Honey Monster cuddly character (except it was anything but cuddly, a rock hard 2ft pile of ugliness, but she loved him). Bemused, my parents duly hunted one down. Her next desire was a plastic monkey doll,almost sinister in appearance, then a Stretch Armstrong 'doll' at about 5 or 6 years old, a wheelbarrow another year. We once spent an hour in the gift shop of London zoo while she carefully decided between which teddy she wanted to buy as a memento (they were all exactly the same teddy, just placed in different poses on the shelf). My brother and I grew more and more impatient at the wait, my parents valued her individuality and let her take her time. The thing with my sister was she never wanted much, but when she set her mind to one thing, she would not quaver from that desire. No matter how
    small, she was happy.
    Far from being as awkward as she may have seemed as a child, she is today one of the most creative women I know, with a well developed mind of her own and with an exquisite sense of style and taste!

  4. I remember in 2nd grade the only thing we wanted for Christmas was a giant teddy bear. All three of us received it – I had mine for years. What fond memories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content