Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If You Were Stranded on an Island.....

Actually, no one that I know of is stranded on an island.

I mean, I'm still stranded in Week Two of boot camp but no one wants to hear my pain.

But remember that logic question that used to pop up in school every now and then:  If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you, not counting people?

Well, I've got a variation of that question for you and I'm really interested to hear what you have to say.

If your child could have no electronic devices (iPads, iPods, iPhones, Android devices, tablets, e-readers, DVD players, etc...), what would they play with instead?

A little background on the reason for the question - Monday, Lily had a visit with her former speech therapist that we haven't seen in almost two years.  After an hour session with the Bird, she came out and asked me, "What exactly does Lily like to play?".

Of course, my immediate answer was the iPad.

Then she asked me, "Besides electronics, what does Lily like to do for fun?".

To which I answered, "Ummm.... Gimme a minute, here.  Ahhhh..... OK!  Got one!  She likes for her Dad to throw her on our bed!  Does that count?  Oh, and she likes to crawl under our covers and kind of "hide out".  Oops!  But that's with the iPad.  Oh, she likes this sensory tunnel thing that she combat crawls through, but.... oh no, that's with the iPad as well.  Soooo, did you mean like no electronics at all??"

And while I've noticed it before, I think it's the first time I voiced it out loud - My child does not really like to play anything.  Or at least, anything that's not electronic.

There are definitely worse problems and it's certainly not the end of the world but it does raise an interesting question.

Or at least, it's interesting to me.

While Lily has never been what I would call a "stellar play-er" (and I don't mean that in the sleazy sense, in case you were wondering), there was a time that she played.  She would drop balls down a marble run type toy.  She matched these little plastic puzzle cookies that looked like Oreos.  She spun plastic tops. She squeezed Play-doh, though it's always been so tempting to take just a small bite or two.  She looked at books, before she took to ripping them to bits.  She filled and emptied plastic eggs with little rubber bugs.

She does none of that anymore.

And she's not all that interested anymore.

Granted, she's 5 and some of those things might just fall by the wayside now that she's a little older.  But nothing non-electronic has really taken the place of any of these activities.

So of course, the first thing I thought of is to do the good ol' comparison thing that none of us are supposed to do but we all do anyway and take a casual "opinion poll" on the blog today.

In the next couple of days, I'll offer some conflicting reasons for this "lack of play" ("the mom" thinks, "the therapist" thinks....) and see what you think about that.

But for now, just answer this for me:

If your child could have no electronic devices (iPads, iPods, iPhones, Android devices, tablets, e-readers, DVD players, etc...), what would they play with instead?

On your mark...

Get set....

Comment! (or facebook or tweet or email....)


  1. My special needs daughter is the same way with her iPad. Seeing how it's our future tool in school, I figure Edie is getting a head start. After having her iPad for about a year she will finally come off the steps and hijack the tv or destory/play in her play room. I can't wait till your next post, hehe!


  2. Wow...this is going to be hard and probably out of my league, especially not knowing what Lily has done in the past or what she may be capable of doing. First thing that came to my mind was "baking" cookies with mom to "building" things with the medium to large Leggos. A doll with buttons to button, zipper to zip, etc., wooden puzzles that have the little pegs on the pieces. These may not work at all for you, but may trigger some ideas anyway. I will keep thinking though. I will look forward to the next blog as well.

  3. Our best investment this last year was a trampoline. It gets the girls outside and playing while also exercising. Bicycles and plasma cars are favorites for the front of the house. Inside, they both really like to draw and paint. Caroline likes Barbies, Polly Pocket, typical toys like those. They do both like to do play doh.

  4. Are you excluding battery powered remote control cars? Because then, I'm pretty much out of 85% of the rest of the play... But Tootles loves books. He could spend hours upon hours reading, looking at pictures, making up his own stories, pointing to things. Playdoh as everyone else says. Large floor puzzles if it is of a picture of something he is currently devoted to (the planets) Hot Wheels, balls, bats, basketball hoops, and there are these things called Skyrocoptors which are round discs you set on a gun like trigger and pull a string - they go soaring in the air and he loves those and stomp rockets. Yup - all boy, that kid.

  5. Little Miss also spends a lot of time between the iPad and the TV. But we also have mandated (by mommy) TV/iPad free time. Right now, the thing I can get her to play longest with is Legos. We have the Ni-Hao Kai Lan Mega Bloks set (don't tell her -- she's getting another set for her birthday).

    Now, that said, she does not often play with the Legos on her own (too frustrating), but she really enjoys when I build little houses for her people to hide in!

  6. This is something that has really been bothering me lately because I feel like all Cameron really loves is iPad and TV. Yeah, I know all I have to do is take the devices away but unless you are the parent of a special needs kid who thrives off those devices, then you probably would never understand how hard of a removal it really is. Cameron comes alive when he's playing iPad and watching Mickey Mouse on TV. He does like to play with cars and a dollhouse but that's about it. He'd rather watch cooking videos on YouTube all day than do anything else.

  7. What about balls? Balls to kick, balls to throw. Has she ever played basketball with Ryan?

  8. Musical instruments, swings, id make my own but something like this for a demolition kit to go wild with http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00351YU70

  9. My boys were just happy to be outside on the swing set/slide -- sticks, rocks and leaves became some of their favorite "toys" when I would turn off the tube, but I know the challenge to keep these items out of her nose and mouth might make that more chase than actual play.
    I know how much the Bird LOVES water!! -- what about a water table with pitchers and such for her to scoop and pour?? you could add some ice for a different experience-- and if it goes to her mouth, then no harm done.
    My boys loved to finger paint - How about whipped cream on a table - again, if it goes to the mouth...
    Does she like to swing? I myself, would LOVE an indoor swing to curl up with a book -- oh, wait... this isn't about me!!! Sorry,got lost in my own play fantasy for a moment there! ha!
    Good luck with your search- looking forward to updates. :)

  10. We have the exact same problem! A. doesn't play with anything for longer than a minute or two.

    Today the minute or two of play was spent in a mud puddle outside. But that's probably not the answer your ST was hoping for. :)

  11. Growing up in South Houston all we had to play with was a stick. :)

    1. A desert island....with my child...and NO electronic devices??? Are you mad, woman???!!

      Mind you, it might be one way of dragging him away from a screen.

      On a more serious note: my guy is 12 and over the years he has taken up extra-curricular activities that are really therapies in disguise! He does trampolining (new), Taekwondo,swimming na dhe's just given up Drama after 2 years. These things get him off screens and interested in something else. Once I can get him off the screens to get there!!

      xx Jazzy

  12. I'm late to the game here. This is a hard one. K was never good at play. The dev ped was actually shocked at what a deficit she has in play, with the functioning level she is at. She has always preferred the computer or a dvd. We have an ipad now, and, yeah, I am totally guilty of just letting her play with that too much. She's not going to sit and do Barbie's hair, or play with the dollhouse she has, or any of that. She is really into art, so we have a ton of supplies and that is what she would probably *only* do if we were to banish electronics. I don't know where she gets it from, b/c I hate all things crafty...but we even made half of the office a little craft area for her. She also enjoys some board games, but, yeah, she will always defer to the ipad or laptop over anything else, if allowed. K is 8 now, and the days of pretend play, really, are behind us. The autism specialist at our school said there wasn't a point in trying to teach her to play, because her peers are beyond that, but then we had another therapist disagree, so who knows. K is HF, so I don't necessarily think play is super important at this point, but it is sad to see all her toys/dolls just sit.


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