The ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, wrote: “Do not keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.”
Modern predictors of children who will go on to become successful adults include three things – first, being read to often, second, being encouraged to play imaginative games with simple toys, and, third, being allowed to develop physically, imaginatively and emotionally in outdoor games with other children.
“Play is the work of the child.” says Maria Montessori of the famous education institutions. She is far from the only education expert who points this out. Fred Rogers says: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
It is instinctive for children to play, whether they play with mud pies or disposable containers filled with water. Most children of my generation, and I grew up in the sixties, learned to play, or at least games, from other children. We played in the parks, the streets, and one another’s homes. Today’s children have a far less haphazard exposure to other children and they may need to be guided into games. My sister had to get involved and teach her children to play “Pretend, pretend” or “Chaff, chaff” as we knew it back then. “It is a happy talent to know how to play.” said Ralph Waldo Emerson.
There is no right or wrong way to play and no right or wrong toys to buy for any particular child. However, the so-called experts all agree that too many cheap and too many electronic toys are not a good idea for the development of young bodies, minds and skills.
That’s where the shop “Greenbusters” comes into its own. Twenty years ago, one woman with a passion for toys with a difference, Barbara Kuehnemann, opened a shop in Greenside selling the quality toys of her childhood. That shop is now celebrating its 20th birthday on 20 February 2018. There are now three branches – the original Greenside branch, a branch in Nicholway, and a branch in Melrose Arch.
Fewer, better quality toys, ones designed along classic lines and purchased when age appropriate are behind the “less is more” thinking of providing one’s children with the finest opportunities to play.
The toys sold at Greenbusters are made to the highest possible safety standards, using natural and non-toxic materials and classic and innovative designs. The toys are superb quality and excellent value for money.
All three Greenbusters stores will be celebrating the birthday of this toy store with a difference from Tuesday 20th February 2018 to Sunday 25th February 2018 with a 20% discount for all sales over R200.
Kuehnemann, the owner of Greenbusters, is currently not in South Africa, because she is German and is sourcing toys from European toy fairs, but her Italian store manager, Claudia Dallabona, will be at one or other of those three stores during the sale time. Each person working in the store is chosen for her knowledge of age appropriate toys and her passion for non-technological play.
Dallabona points out that the toys are not expensive when one considers that one is buying for all the children in the family, including the grandchildren and even great grandchildren who will play with them, giving an example of her own childhood wooden trains, which have survived both her play and that of her young daughter, and are still good for another generation or two.
Of course, the joys of playing with toys are often not restricted to children. “The playing adult steps sideward into another reality; the playing child advances forward to new stages of mastery.” says Erik H. Erikson, so buy yourself some toys and let your children share them.