In the late 1800's and early 20th Century, Milton Bradley and a variety of other companies in the US and Europe supplied Froebel's gifts in machine crafted boxes. I am convinced that when Froebel proposed such gifts for the use in a teaching relationship between young mothers and their infants, the boxes and blocks were most likely not made with fancy machine tools, but rather by young fathers crafting educational materials for their own children by firelight. And so, the gifts may be serviceable in a number of directions, luring young fathers to make, luring young mothers to teach, and luring infants to explore their own creative capacities.
Nowadays, parents just occupy their kids on digital devices. They can be turned off, so I guess that's an advantage of sorts.
I showed my high school class Froebel's third gift, my latest box project. When my exchange student David began building with the blocks from inside, I asked, "Did you play with blocks as a child?" "No, just video games." He answered. And so it goes all over the world. Parents are convinced that by giving their children expensive technology instead of toys, they've delivered their best.
But there are things that children get from handling real things and our children are left short handed if they don't have the opportunity to learn from engagement in real materials in solid form.
I want to introduce my readers to Mag Ruffman, toolgirl.com. She offers some free instructional videos for woodworking with kids and may help parents to understand that they don't have to be expert woodworkers before introducing their own children to creative woodwork. We can all learn together in this creative process, and it truly is past time for us to take the education of our children into our own hands. Mag works with Lowe's Canada to offer Family Fun Projects.
|A gift need not be perfectly crafted to be useful or beautiful|
Make, fix and create... teach others to do likewise.