Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Here's why my son isn't getting a Nintendo DS anytime soon

My children do not have the latest in popular entertainment and video devices. While we don't live under a rock and my boys do watch TV, we have not yet jumped on the bandwagon of digital gadgetry in our household. Yes, my laptop is my BFF. However, I am not on Facebook or Twitter. I don't know how to text (I know that is VERY lame...........I just haven't needed to learn yet), and my phone is a Motorola Tracfone which I buy minutes for when my minutes run out. It doesn't even have one of those cool little keyboards that slides out. Usually I just use it to call DH with an item to add to the grocery list. (Yes, he does our grocery shopping. I am very blessed.) And believe me...........if someone walked up to me today and offered me one of those really cool phones that does everything, I would not hesitate to accept.

So..........before I go any further, please know that in no way do I judge others for their relationships to digital devices. Nor I am opposed to or "against" the use of said devices. To be honest, we just haven't purchased some of these gadgets because as of yet no one in our family has felt a pressing need to have them. It doesn't make sense to us to buy something for our children that they are not asking for. That would be like introducing an ice cream sundae to a child who consistently and contentedly eats a variety of healthy foods. If they're happy eating healthy, why mess with it, right? Likewise, if my children are happy and occupied with books and toys that don't beep or light up, why mess with it?

Recently, however, my youngest son (he's 5 1/2) has been telling me he REALLY wants a Nintendo DS. I have explained to him that these cost a lot of money and that he will have to really save his money (which he earns by keeping his room clean) if he wants to buy one. The chances of him saving up enough to buy one are slim to none; money kind of burns a hole in his pocket and is usually used to buy more LEGO sets. And I love it when he buys LEGO sets because they are hands-on, open-ended, constructive and will get lots of play time in our household.

Today, however, something occurred that pretty much convinced me that none of MY hard-earned cash is going to buy him a DS anytime soon. There's a bit of a backstory here. Today (Tuesday) was a no-school day for me and my sons. We also had the day off on Monday for President's Day. On Monday I took the boys to a local museum where they were having President's Day activities for families. I also bought the boys lunch at the museum. My youngest son had an orange cream soda to drink. It came in a glass bottle. He didn't drink it all, but when I asked the restaurant employee if they recycled the glass bottles, she said no. I am a pretty dedicated recycler, so I took the bottles into the restroom, dumped the remaining soda out, rinsed the bottles and hauled them around in my huge purse the rest of the afternoon. My youngest son was very excited that we were saving his bottle. He said he was going to make something with it when we got home.

Fast forward to this morning. I decided to clean out the junk drawer in our kitchen. While doing this project, I had the contents of the drawer spread out on our table. My youngest son spotted a round metal lid that was missing its handle. He asked if he could have it. Knowing there was a good chance I had no use for the lid, I agreed. A little while later I was sweeping the floor. My broom dislodged a circular piece of heavy wire from beneath our couch. My youngest son spotted it in the pile of pet hair and dirt just before I swept it into a dustpan. He asked if he could have it. I agreed, but cautioned him to be careful with it.

Later in the morning I rounded up the boys to go to work with me. They often accompany me when I have to get things ready in my preschool classroom. As we headed out the door I noticed that my youngest son was planning to bring the empty glass soda bottle, the metal lid and the ring of wire along. Not wanting to deal with that, I urged him to leave them behind. He persisted, telling me he was going to make something with them. I gave in. We went to my school. While I busied myself with the tasks I needed to accomplish, my youngest son played with the bottle, lid and wire. He showed me all the different things he could do with them. At one point, he used them as a catapult to roll a globe from my classroom across the floor. Another time he showed me how the curved wire could be used like a hook to pick up the lid.

Much later in the afternoon, the boys and I had to stop at my parents' house to pick something up. Again, my youngest son insisted on bringing his bottle, lid and wire with him. My mom greeted us at the door and remarked about the strange assortment of items my little guy was carrying. I told her that he had occupied himself with these three items for much of the day. The boys played at my parents house for about an hour while I went back to work. Although he played with other things, I know my son continued to enjoy his trio of "junky" treasures at their house as well.

At one point today he told me he wants to collect lots of bottles so he can make lots of things with them. It reminded me of his Valentine's party at school last week. I had brought juice boxes for the children. Instead of throwing his juice box away when he was finished, my son asked to bring it home. He wanted to make a boat out of it.

So........now you know why he isn't getting a Nintendo DS anytime soon. Who needs a fancy video game when you can be happily entertained for hours with a bottle, a discarded lid, and a piece of wire? Why mess with a good thing?


lilly.put said...

With you all the way, Laura. I have one daughter who creates with paper, pencils glue and my sticky tape all day and my other daughter dances her own little moves around the house and is still fascinated by the things in my kitchen drawers.

Gigi said...

I'm with you there also!!! My son, 7, has asked for one because some of his friends have them but I like him to use his imagination also!!!

Susana of Montessori Candy said...

Heck Yeah! With six children people are always telling me that kids are so expensive. You know what I tell them? Imagination doesn't cost a thing! Thanks for sharing! I've been a fan of your Montessori blog for the longest time! I'd love to have you as a guest blogger sometime! Just drop me a line :) Thanks for sharing!

Jamie Kaufmann said...

Laura, your life sounds just like mine with MY two boys. No electronic gaming devices here either. Lego addicts, YES! AND GUESS WHAT? Because of all I have learned on your blog, I have been offered a preschool job at a private Christian school where my boys could also attend with me. And that's with a high school teaching degree. My blog posts about doing preschool at home really impressed them and it's all because of your inspiration. Thank you!