Monday, September 29, 2014


The other day, Scott and I were talking about baby toys and how I don't like those annoying "educational" toys that basically just light up and make noises at you.

I outlined a few criteria for toys that I *do* like:

1. Open-ended. This includes blocks, dolls, that sort of thing. There isn't just one thing you can build with a set of blocks; there isn't just one narrative you can act out with a houseful of dolls.

2. Requires active play rather than passive consumption. So, a ball is better than a video, because with the ball you actually have to interact with it in order for it to do anything, whereas the video just goes on regardless of whether you're engaged or sitting there glassy-eyed staring into the middle distance.

Of course, there are exceptions to these rules, as there always are. :) For example, a book on tape is not really open-ended (unless it's a choose-your-own-adventure book on tape, I guess), nor does it require active participation. Does this mean I'll never let my kids listen to books on tape? Of course not! I plan to actively encourage it, in fact.

(For that matter, I don't think videos are inherently bad either--they just seem like they should be the dessert rather than the meat.)

I don't really have a point with this post...I'm just getting down these thoughts as they come to me so maybe one of these days they'll all mesh together into some kind of coherent educational philosophy.


Anonymous said...

Listening to a book read aloud has, I think I recall, the same effect as reading. Your brain has to still do all the visualization effort, even if it isn't deciding.

The Sojourner said...

Interesting. I hadn't thought of it that way.

Anonymous said...

...deciding should be decoding.

Sheila said...

The postpartum exercise that helps me the most is sucking in my gut. Really, you just flex those muscles to pull in your mama tummy as much as you can, for 10 seconds or so. Repeat until you get tired or distracted. I do 'em whenever I think of them.

My mom told me about this -- it exercises your transverse muscle (I think???) and pulls together the separated rectus abdominus muscles (if you have them, but don't all mothers? If you don't know, google "diastasis rectus abdominus" and read all about it.). And as they pull together, your whole core gets stronger and your belly gets less poochy. It really seems to help, and now I'm finally strong enough to do some other things, like a few squats (helps your poor punished pelvic floor) and planks (surely those are good right? can't manage a push-up yet).

I am not good with exercise, but just throwing a few things in when I think of them means that I'm always doing *something.* Plus walks. Babies love walks, at least all of mine have.

The Sojourner said...

I do something similar lying on the floor (usually with a baby sitting on my stomach to "help" ;) ). It was a big milestone when I figured out how to get my lower back to press flat against the floor. The first time I saw someone suggest that I was like, "What do you think I am, some kind of wizard? My spine does not bend that way!"