This morning with the paper - why, yes, I read an actual, printed newspaper, every day - I got a catalog from a local store I had never heard of, called Carol School Supply. It caught my attention because of the incongruity between the business name and the colorful toys on the first page, including a play tent, a remote control copter that sort of looks like a shark, and a messenger sized bag which the child could color with included fabric markers. So, I flipped through it to see what else they had.
Four pages later, I handed it off to Karen (aka, Mrs. Pornographer) and asked, "Do you see what I see?"
In the entire catalog, there was nothing requiring a TV, a computer or a music player. There were no "collectible" items whose names will become future Trivial Pursuit questions. (Pokemon, Bratz, etc.) There were no toys with Disney or Nickelodeon characters on them, in fact, *nothing* from popular culture. No action figures, no giant "playsets" based on movies or cartoons, or TV shows. In fact, not only were there no Barbies, there were no baby dolls.
There was nothing passive.
Everything required participation, engagement, imagination, or creativity. Puzzles, art kits, fake food for pre-preschoolers to "cook" which required some assembly or decoration, art kits, build-it-yourself kits, rockets, racers, yo-yos, dress-up supplies, a tea set and some science kits. A lot could be enjoyed by a child alone; many required or encouraged playmates.
It's sad that I found this so surprising.
But if I had a kid I was buying toys for? I'd go there.
Carol School Supply.