What to do When the Batteries Wear Out

Get Yer Mind Outta Da Gutter!

There!

That being said what I’m talking about is children’s toys.

Let’s face it – most children’s toys these days need some type of battery.  Either they come preinstalled by the manufacturer or you have to buy them and install them.

Our children, from infant to teen, all expect the bells and whistles to actually work!  They expect the lights to light and the sounds to be realistic.

Imagination?

Whatever happened to imagination? Are we as parents so brainwashed by television and the internet with all its claims of fun and learning that we believe our children will grow up better, faster, or smarter because of this? Good Lord! I hope not! If we do then we are raising the laziest generation yet!

Imagination Explained

Batteries- Oh The Horror!

I can remember that my mother picked out games based on the number of pieces that could be lost, swallowed, stepped on or thrown and causing bodily harm. Today as I walk the toy aisles I am hard pressed to find something that does not use batteries. I count the number and size of batteries needed to operate the things. Dolls, Dollhouses, rocking horses, toy cars, and trains, even talking books; they all need batteries in some form. Most of the time we are lucky, it’s standard AA batteries, but try to replace one in a talking book? You spend more time looking for the right type of battery than the child does playing with it.

Cost is a big factor; most quality toys begin at about $20.00 and just go up from there. That’s a lot of money for something that the kids will most likely play with for a couple of weeks and then get bored with. Add in the cost of constantly replacing batteries and you can just about double the cost of the toy.  That same toy will be sold at the yard sale next year for little to nothing.  Talk about a waste of money!

When I Was a Kid….

Batteries were hardly ever needed. In fact, the only game I can remember getting that actually needed batteries was Operation. You didn't have much fun if you didn't have the buzz! Everything else either plugged in or imagination was required. From dolls to cars to board games you used imagination or simple muscle power to move the pieces.

The old way to play
The old way to play
The new version - cheap!!!
The new version - cheap!!!

Remember Battleship?  Each player had a board and pieces and positioned their ships so the other had to guess where each ship by calling out simple coordinates to determine a hit or a miss. The ultimate groan of “You sank my battleship!”  is something many of us remember. Today, you can’t find this version, except maybe in yard sales and flea markets.  Today Battleship is played online or as a PC game. The reincarnated Battleship game is a sad reflection of what used to be.

How about Monopoly? Buying and selling and trying to get hotels. Everyone wanted to be the banker.  Your deeds were color coded and you had to check them each time someone landed on your property. Counting the roll of dice you hoped to get to get that particular piece of property and hoping you did not land in jail. The game could last for days if necessary. My brother and I, stricken with chicken pox, played one game for 5 days straight and I still don’t remember who won!  Today you can buy the latest version with an electronic banker where you use a swipe card similar to a credit/debit card. Do I really want to teach my children how to do this????  

Who wants to be banker?
Who wants to be banker?
Will that be debit or credit?
Will that be debit or credit?
Complete with Remote Activation
Complete with Remote Activation

Catching Them Younger

We really are starting them young too. Infants have gadgets to listen to them, rock them, light up for them, wiggle and giggle for them. Whatever happened to parents actually providing the rocking, movements and sound effects? Are we lazy or just trying to give our child every advantage we can? It’s a tough call to make in this hectic world of computers, cell phones and working parents. Remember the mobile that hung over the baby’s crib? You wound it up and let it go. Then you went back and did it again as often as necessary. That’s not good enough for today’s baby; they have crib toys such as this Baby Einstein Lullaby Soother which comes complete with:

  • Incorporates real-life ocean imagery and Baby Einstein characters that swim along in this scrolling aquarium scene

  • Features a unique soothing mode that gradually softens the volume to put your baby to sleep; remote allows for activation or deactivation without disturbing your baby

  • Soft edge lighting allows you to check on your baby from a distance

  • Includes a button for baby activation; design allows for extended bedside use for older babies

  • Batteries Required (Sold Separately)

A remote??? A remote for a baby toy….my grandmother is turning over in her grave.

Look Familiar?
Look Familiar?

So what does a smart parent do?

First, never, ever, evereverevereverEVER! Take your child to the store to let them pick out a toy – it will cost you!  They watch TV, they will spot the largest, latest and most expensive item there is and whine, cry, manipulate, pout and generally wear you down into submission until you buy it.

Second, start them young. Be the sound effects, be the motion machine,  don’t cave into the articles and advertisements that promise easier and more educational .  By using your imagination, you teach them to use theirs.

Next, think about the toys that hung around your house when you were a kid. I’m talking about the ones that actually stayed for more than a few weeks. Chances are they are still out there in one form or another.  Some examples include:

Etch a Sketch – draw it – shake it and do it again!  Or its newer version for younger kids The Doodle Pad.

Legos and their little siblings Duplos – build the kit and then create your own variations.

Dolls or Action Figures – they move, bend and twist. You dress em up and send them off to action.  Imagination required.

Balls- baseball, basketball, football, even those pesky super bounce balls that can ricochet through a kitchen faster than you can duck. Hours of exercise for any kid and parent.

Bikes, scooters, skates, skateboards- Actually see scenery going by – not just simulated on a Wii.

Playdoh, Crayons, paper scissors – let your imagination run wild. Cheap and easy to replace, they can absorb any child’s attention on a rainy day.  You can even make some of it yourself.

How to Make Playdoh

Last and most importantly, play with these things with them. You as a parent are their teachers. Teach them what you want them to learn not what commercials, guides and so –called experts tell you that you should.

I can guarantee you this - at some point in the future when their friend are whining and crying about being bored - yours won't be. They learned to use their imaginations.

Bells, Whistles & Batteries

Monopoly
Monopoly

The original version

 
Monopoly Electronic Banking Edition
Monopoly Electronic Banking Edition

Electronic Version - 2 AAA batteries required

 

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Comments 11 comments

fortunerep profile image

fortunerep 7 years ago from North Carolina

Kids need to be outside playing. What happened to tag and climbing trees and hide and seek? Leave the batteries for us adults. We indulge to much on technology when kids need to be kids, dirty, tired rundown kids after a long day basking the sun light. Alot more healthier

dori


Nanny J.O.A.T. profile image

Nanny J.O.A.T. 7 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow Author

Hear! Hear!! I'm tired of kicking my son off of the computer, the TV, the Playstation and hearing I'm bored!!!!


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

There are strange objects stored in my  garage in boxes . They are rectangular, have lots of pieces of paper inside with writing on them, and some have pictures too. They're called "books". I remember being told "Don't sit there all day reading, go outside and do something" - by aunts and relatives, my mother was more tolerant.

"Battleship" was played on a couple of sheets of scrap paper after we drew our own grid, as a boxed game it didn't exist. (We also played it on my aircraft over the the intercom. the same way whilst in transit, when I was in my twenties)

In a lot of ways what was frowned upon by our elders when we were young is what we advocate for our, and others, kids today. Progress progresses, Often we don't. It may not always be for the better but change - in lifestyle and in attitudes, is inevitable. Its probably been so since well before the first cave-dwelling brat got bitched at by his/her mother for daubing clay and blood pictures on the wall instead of going out and playing tease the sabre-tooth with the other kids.

That reminds me, be a bit cautious about giving ankle-snappers crayons!

Cheers, TOF


Nanny J.O.A.T. profile image

Nanny J.O.A.T. 7 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow Author

LOL! TOF dear - I have shelves and shelves of those strange things called books as well- I just didn't want to add that into the mix at the moment. I have had the same problem with a couple of mine own. They take after their mum a bit too much!

I can believe you played battleship at that time - my quick research showed that it began in the early 1900's. and Milton Bradley Co.come out with it in 1943 or so. I also found out the game of Life actually began in the 1860's although I did not include that specific game in my hub - The original Milton Bradley designed it.

And I wouldn't worry too much about giving the ankle snappers crayons, marker and such - the one good thing with all this progress is that if you buy the right kind - they wash right off - walls, hands, clothing, the car, the cat...


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 7 years ago from Canada's 'California'

My son spent the entire weekend building with lego, watching a bit of tv, playing ball hockey and eating - a complete change from playing on the computer, video games and more video games...and he even told me he had fun playing!


Nanny J.O.A.T. profile image

Nanny J.O.A.T. 7 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow Author

Isn't it amazing how kids that normally are glued to a screen get so surprised that there is life and fun outside of one ? My son is the same way.


Nanny J.O.A.T. profile image

Nanny J.O.A.T. 7 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow Author

Hey BC! I'll bet with a lil practice - you can be a master again- maybe cabin girl will let you practice on her - Fear is a great motivator! LOL!

Thanks for stopping by - big HUG!


Sunny Robinson profile image

Sunny Robinson 7 years ago from Tennessee

Oh jeez. I spent the last Christmas talking my fiance into letting the kids have the Wii. I mean, it looked awesome and looked like so much fun. The kids balance it out with their own dolls, playing with their clay, and making up war stories that goes with historical facts (who's the bad guy, who's the hero, etc) to play out for my video camera.

But most of the summer, they've not actually gone outside much unless it is to go to their Uncle's swimming pool or to the campground. Even now as I type, one boy is playing a game on their computer, one boy is playing his war wii game, and one girl is watching tv in her bedroom. I really don't know why they have all those tvs, this was before I came along. My fiance regrets letting me talk him into the wii and I also regret my eagerness for a silly technology.

I'm also from the first generation of computers and even now I'm pretty stuck to my computer. My excuse is for my writings. ;)

Nanny, what shall we do? :( I totally agree with the infancy thing - start them parent/child bonding rather than introducing them as early as you can to technology, and get them into using their own creativity. I've considered that if I were to have my own child, I'd love to make toys myself for him/her. I'm thinking about doing that for the 5 year old girl.

As always, I love your writings.


Nanny J.O.A.T. profile image

Nanny J.O.A.T. 7 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow Author

Sunny- we have to do the hardest thing - unplug and put limits on it. The things you mentioned should be treats - not time occupiers, not babysitters.

#1 rule in my house - no TVs in bedrooms #2 rule - the computer is mine and you will only get on it with permission and to sites I agree on, and it's sits in a public area.

In short - be the parent and make the rules and stick to them - 1 hour of TV means 1 hour -not one more show. You can be flexible enough to let them decide within reason what they want to watch - but you still control the time.

It means monitoring them - interacting with them - Don't just tell them to go outside and play - go with them. It means planning the day a little - making sure that they have the things necessary to use their imagination.

Find out what interests them and encourage it.


Sunny Robinson profile image

Sunny Robinson 7 years ago from Tennessee

You're absolutely right. I will probably have to make a lot of changes to the household. I want to implement a lot of stuff I have been thinking about (your hub and my hub, included, as well as your advice). I'm thinking about trashing the kids' tvs because they leave it on when they sleep, which is probably another hub in itself. It's like they practically can't live without it.


rsmallory profile image

rsmallory 7 years ago from Central Texas

Love the concept Nanny. Nice hub.

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