More evidence is showing that fantasy play is crucial to the healthy brain development of children. The Christian Science Monitor reports:
In recent years, child development experts, parents, and scientists have been sounding an increasingly urgent alarm about the decreasing amount of time that children – and adults, for that matter – spend playing. A combination of social forces, from a No Child Left Behind focus on test scores to the push for children to get ahead with programmed extracurricular activities, leaves less time for the roughhousing, fantasizing, and pretend worlds advocates say are crucial for development.
So what happens when kids’ toys and media– major tools for fantasy play– increasingly focus on perpetuating limited gender stereotypes? Unlike in the past, TV series and movies today are often created around products in hope of moving merchandise. The Christian Science Monitor reports:
In the early 1980s, the federal government deregulated children’s advertising, allowing TV shows to essentially become half-hour-long advertisements for toys such as Power Rangers, My Little Ponies, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Levin says that’s when children’s play changed. They wanted specific toys, to use them in the specific way that the toys appeared on TV.
Even Lego’s Friends toys eagerly promises movies and games to accompany the sexist sets.