Monday, March 19, 2012

Consumerism Capitalizes on Children's Desire for Productive Play

Boondoggle (project), term for a scheme that wastes time and money
And for sharing.  I just learned about the word Boondoggle!  A good word to describe unnecessary, wasteful, or fraudulant projects.  Boy sounds like a word that could often be applied tot the work that my children bring home.  The Scouts make what they call Boon Doggles  out of gimp, plastic cord, and this is an exceptional example of such work.  It is a braided piece, without much use, except decoration if you are 'into' 'that look'.  The take many, many hours to braid, and somehow it holds their attention.  My daughter has finished hers after about six months of hours of work off and on.  Now, what to do with it!  That is just it... there is NOTHING to do with it!  More Waste, to landfill.

I would really like to work with the children on making better use of their time.  I see great value in their play.  But consumerism has capitalized on children's natural inclination to be 'productiv'/  Children want to produce things and have meaningful work.  It is a conundrum.  There are oodles of 'kits' for children at the stores.  Often thse can be easily given as a gift, and the child will enjy the independence of doing this prepackaged wore.  However, should we be teaching our children that these projects are meaningful work?

Now I am sure that there are instances where these kits are spot on for certain situations.  We have not found that to be so for us.  For instance, my daughter recieved a kit for making a hanging decoration, and it was not cheap inexpensive.  When complete, after an hour or two of time,  it was some shiny silver paper with her name on it, linked together with some plastic clips...perhaps we could hang it over her the end she voted it to the landfill...

Now, she did have fun making it.  But then it was wasteful, and I could tell it bothered her to dispose of it.  She did not want it, but it was her work, a gift from a friend, and she has an awareness that trash does not just disappear.  We have always pointed that out to the children. Every time we pass the landfill, we remind them.

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