iPad, the “ultimate kids’ toy?” I think not…

A piece in a New York Times blog explains why the new $499 iPad is the “ultimate kids’ toy.”
Of course, a $499 pricetag cancels out the possibility that it could be the “ultimate kids’ toy” because bless our kids, in their creativity, quest for novelty, and exuberance, they end up dropping, drawing on, bashing, and losing their toys. I have fond memories of wrapping Barbie’s friend Allan in tape, tying string around his neck, and lowering him from our upper porch into the bushes. But let’s just pretend that your child is unnaturally respectful of a pricey piece of electronic equipment.

Yes, the iPad applications would be visually stimulating, a feast for a visual sensory seeker, and the size of the screen is much more kid friendly than an iPhone’s. But how much close-up visual input should our kids have? The blogger says it’d be great for long car trips. I remember those as a kid, and loved the opportunity to look far into the distance, to daydream about fairies and brownies who lived in the trees and bushes that made up the rich, green landscape of Wisconsin. I remember playing the alphabet game, singing camp songs or singing along to the pop songs on AM radio, and having large blocks of time to dream and imagine and to process all the ideas being thrown at me. When my son was 5 and we moved from New York to Milwaukee, he was stuck sitting in the middle of the front seat of a Budget rent-a-truck. He had only a Simon handheld game and auto bingo card as his toys and was happy as can be.

The other day, he and his buddies asked my husband to take him to the lakefront. There, they ran through the cold sand to the blocks of ice at the shore and had a blast breaking off chunks, sliding around, skipping stones, and shouting towards the horizon.
I feel certain that the ultimate kids’ toy doesn’t have batteries, and it sure doesn’t cost $499!


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