среда, 3 февраля 2016 г.

Do Children and Adults Have the Identical Perception of a Concrete Toy?

   What games do our children play? What toys do our children prefer? Is it normally to play these games and toys? What cartoon films and movies do our children watch? Can the modern toys and games be good examples for our children? All of these questions are very actual (and, believe, not only in the modern times).
   Toys which are "not so beautiful", dolls which are «not too correct in proportions», soft toys having specific features, etc. are the reasons for the numerous discussions regarding their aesthetic components and their “correctness”. 
   A lot of adults make the same mistake when they think that the "terrible", “strange” toys, toy guns, etc. provoke negative emotions like aggression and fear and the desire to do something bad. But very beautiful dolls and “correct” toys can cause the same feelings. Depending on the plot of the play, one of the most attractive dolls may become an evil queen – it depends on the social circumstances which have provoked play (the popular girl in a group or in a class has offended her friend, the cartoon film or film has caused the certain associations, etc.). And at the same time, the “strange” toy rescues the world and helps everybody. It is also necessary to mention the theme of children's loneliness and sometimes such strange heroes and toys can give children the hope. Besides it in many fairy tales even "beautiful" heroes meet with difficulties: they are not trusted that the "scarlet sails" will come, they are offended by the stepmother, and they do not cope with problems. I often noticed that, if this main hero does not look like others, he or she will be closer to the child doubly.
    Not long ago some people discussed the fact that the one well-known doll should influence girls negatively because of the standards of body and beauty (as good examples for girls other types of dolls were mentioned), and they achieved their aim – now this doll will be in different proportions. This situation reminds me the congress of tutors, which took place more than one century ago and where the following words were said: «Do you think, that dolls with their senseless faces, with silly protruding eyes, with their hats and toilets of coquettes, do not give a bad example to the small mothers?» (quoted on D.Galanin). And very few people paid attention to the plots played by children using these dolls. And plots comprised love, family, households, children, adventures.
   Super popular game on playgrounds with the frightening name «Zombie» does not contain terrible components: it is one of the variants of  blind man’s buff or the protection of "property" from the attack (it is necessary to hide something, etc.).  
   But do toy «monsters» and games with frightening names really reflect the modern world? Yes, and not only modern. Too much vital violence transferred in the media screens can conduct to the fact that the inherent (for the mankind) fear of the death is being transformed and it is being reflected in the situation that the game of blind man’s buff is becoming the game "Zombie". Such problems of the mankind like attitudes with peers and parents, love, etc. are being discussed with children and teenagers with the using of the heroes of vampires. In the conditions of a «global village » (Mcluhan) even the death of people is not only the part of the news, it is also (and it is the most terrible) - the show. And we have the answer of the toy industry to these events.

This doll is 22 years old.
But she is still my favorite.

This is a favorite toy of my Brother.
This toy  is 40 years old.
   However, many adults may notice  (and they also must remember themselves in a "gentle" age) that in the play of children the simple chess and checkers can become ‘soldiers’ or other heroes which are not obligatory connected with the antagonism as it is possible to think. These chess heroes have corresponding qualities and aspirations.  And we all know that the chess figures do not have eyes, ears, dresses, etc.  But I often observe how the child after playing chess or even without it, builds the imagined world from chessmen with a great enthusiasm. The figure of "elephant" will not be always the elephant in this play - it can be the uncle who pursues corresponding purposes, and the simple wooden figure of the queen will be fantastically beautiful in the imagination of a child. And what can we speak about smooth black and white checkers which carry out fantastic functions in the children's play?
   Or let’s address to an old doll: the legs were broken; the whole condition of this doll is not very good. However, the child does not want to hear the recommendations of peers (even peers) to throw this doll out and buy a new toy, because this doll is the most favorite and beautiful. I admit that I also have such doll and it was always the main heroine of my play in spite of the fact that I had a lot of toys. And it was possible to correct the hair of the doll and to ask adults to repair “legs”.
   «... Game and toys are not the reasons, but game and toys are the parameters of already existing taste, aspirations... The struggle against toys seems to me similar to the actions of a strange person who thinks, that the heat of the body depends on the thermometer, and he is aspiring to destroy the thermometer to lower the feverish heat of the body… », - D. Galanin wrote one century ago.
   We need to be very attentive not only to the format of the toys and the names of the games; we need to pay attention to the plots of children's play. The play of the child, even with a "strange" toy, is the great work of the soul of the child. The chess figures or a simple stick, the little toy man with the green face or very big ears can be the tools for the comprehension of internal experiences and feelings of a small person.
   And in the conclusion, I wish to ask you: "Would you buy a Nutcracker Doll"?

You can also read the following blog posts:
 1.Winter Activities of Children and Adults.
 2.Sociology of Childhood. Play and Games in the Drawings of Children.
 3.Pay Attention to the Play of Young Children.

Please do not sell, post,  publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.

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