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Review: Eco Child's Play

Think-ets Game Product Review
November 14th, 2007 by Jennifer Lance

I believe that the only toys worthy of children’s play are ones that inspires their imagination (and are eco-friendly). Just by their nature, open-ended toys are more sustainable, as children do not rapidly outgrow them or get bored quickly. Think-Ets is just such a toy, made up of many miniature trinkets with boundless possibilities for play.

Children are fascinated by miniature objects, but of course, you have to be careful around small children due to choking hazards. Think-Ets contains 15 miniature objects, such as wrench, milk bottle, penguin, jack, etc. The sky’s the limit on what children can do with this toy, and they can also collect them, as no two bags of Think-Ets are the same. When I introduced Think-Ets to my six-year-old daughter and her seven-year-old friend (even though the toy is recommended for ages 8-108+), they shunned the idea of making up a story with the objects. Instead, they were fascinated with taking turns decorating and writing in the pages of the miniature book (about .5″ in size). Later that day, my daughter made up a story with the trinkets that was quite literal, but then again, she is only six!

Low tech toys are the way to go for fostering children’s cognitive development.

Diane Levin, a professor of education at Wheelock College in Boston, says she was motivated to speak out after noticing “problem-solving-deficit disorder,” a term she coined to describe children who don’t know how to play creatively and expect to be entertained. She thinks it’s the result of too much media and a lack of creative low-tech play.

In fact, when kids don’t spend time in geniune play, they lose valuable life skills. As they say, “Play is children’s work”, and as parents, we must provide our children with tools that will foster their creative play. According to child psychologist Paul Donahue, Ph.D., author of Parenting Without Fear,

I see it when 7-, 8-, and 9-year-olds say they don’t have time to play. I see kids who don’t know how to play. Free play promotes independence, creativity, abstract thinking and resilience in children in ways that high-tech toys and structured activities cannot, he says. Downtime - and the sense of having “nothing to do” - forces kids to think for themselves, a skill that Donahue believes many children are lacking these days.

I really like the small size of Think-Ets. If your house is like mine, the toy clutter can be overwhelming at times. Think-Ets would be great for airplane or car travel, as they would fit easily inside a carry-on bag and provide hours of entertainment. The possibilities are endless for what children’s imaginations can do with Think-Ets. The only negative aspect of Think-Ets, is that a few of the trinkets are made of plastic, but then again, we live in a plastic world.


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