Technology has offered us a plethora of new gadgets to play with and to entertain us. Maddison asked for and got a Nintendo DS for Christmas. She loves it. Mason inherited her Leapfrog video game. . . and he loves it too. But as far as I can tell, the best toys they got this year have been an easel with a wipe off board / chalkboard (Maddison) and a toy rifle (Mason). The easel has brought Maddison and I some very fun hours over the Christmas break. We have (with various other players) enjoyed hangman, pictionary, and a variety of word and spelling games. We use the wipe off side for a while, and then switch to the chalkboard side. It brings back vivid memories of my childhood when my sister and I would play school on the chalkboard in our room. One of the reasons that I appreciate toys like easels is that they can be used in so many different ways. And it requires very little effort or materials to use (no batteries, cartridges etc).
Masons one request for a gift was a gun. He got to hunt with his dad this year, and thus began his attachment to guns. I am not a big fan of a child playing with guns. I remember being opposed to Josh having a gun as a child. On his 4th birthday, he invited 8 friends to a party. Every one of the children brought a gun or weapon of some kind as a gift (swords, cap guns, etc). As a grandmother, I still wince a little when Mason plays with toy guns. But I also see the bond that Mason and his Dad have and the pleasure they both got from their hunting time together. With Josh being gone so much lately, Mason holds on tight to anything that reminds him of his Daddy. I have a clear vision of Mason wanting a gun so he can be like his Dad. And when you look at it like that, it is a pretty harmless toy.
All in all, it is nice to have a variety of toys for children. But, from an old fashioned point of view, the simplest classic toys are the best!