Toys to get into Harvard
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Hello from London!
Been a little bit bamboozled by Black Friday Marketing wherever I look but also by World Cup banter and shocks. The Saudi Arabia halftime motivational talk, even got me to pull my socks up.
I'll point you to a long read about parents preparing their young kids for Harvard. Here's a teaser:
Here is a partial inventory of what I found: 13 floor puzzles, including several meant to teach the alphabet. Two sets of magnetic tiles, along with dozens of figurines and matchbox cars, for constructive and imaginary play. Xylophones and tambourines to foster musical ability, and a smattering of finger paints to inspire artistic creativity. Four logic games and a set of dice for practising maths. A speaker box that could play Mozart or children’s versions of the Iliad and Odyssey. Endless Duplo. And, to teach our kids how to unwind after the vigorously pedagogical afternoon those other things were meant to facilitate, the Fisher-Price Meditation Mouse™, an electronic plush toy offering guided stretching and relaxation exercises (advertising copy: “help your little one learn how to nama-stay relaxed”). Our heap of playthings may have been extreme, but it was by no means atypical. American families spend, on average, around $600 per year on toys; a typical 10-year-old child in the UK may have possessed 238 toys in her short life, totalling about £6,500. That abundance bespeaks an entire world – of a postwar boom in plastics, babies and disposable income, of humans in Chinese factories and Madison Avenue marketing agencies, of the not always benign neglect of parents with relentless careers or hangovers or an aversion to spending time with other emotionally volatile beings. Above all, perhaps, the glut of toys reveals a particular vision of what play and childhood are for.
Onward! - Rahim
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