You have to love them! Throughout this note you will see many of the hats that came through the cold this morning into our school. Some new at Christmas, some were here well before that. What a fine Christmas present! Stuffed animals, and the newer animal hats, have been around forever. Ten reasons stuffed animals, and animal hats, make good presents:
- Open ended – kids can engage in a wide variety of playful activities with animals.
- Promote the use of imagination.
- Appeal to a wide variety of ages. Little children and young adolescents generally like stuffed animals.
- Unfold at a rate consonant with the human person. No rushing…..
- Relational –interaction with animals (even stuffed ones) tends toward development of relationship. Kids talk to them like they are real, promoting verbal development.
- Low maintenance – easy to get out and put away – Legos on the other hand….
- Easily available – many a store has many an animal.
- Long lasting generally – some even have “grandpa’s teddy bear.”
- Comfort creatures – promoting peace and quiet (unless you get something with batteries).
- Low cost – possibly anyway.
They promote thought, relationship and imagination. They can be comfort creatures, too. Children need to pretend, and a few animals can be a great way to promote such behavior. I recall as a child, I had an animal and doll triage center. While triage was not in my vocabulary at the time, I cared for many an imaginary injury. My brothers, on the other hand, made teams of the animals and had sports events.
Recently I was talking to a very small child who went on and on about his electronics. True, he was verbal about it, but when we find comfort and excitement in the screen as a tot, there are vast arrays of dangers unfolding ahead of us. Anxiety is too much a part of too many lives. Comparing competitive electronic games to a stuffed animal…..bring on the zoo any day.
Yesterday I received this You Tube site from an educator much more experienced than I (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hER0Qp6QJNU) . The content rang true in many ways. If you have 15 minutes, I think it will be well spent. If I’m doing the math properly, none of you are quite young enough to be considered “millennials” which makes the viewing a little less painful. But our children are growing up in the midst of the culture. They need our help to create an atmosphere of formation that can be a friend to them, not a foe. May the Holy Spirit inspire us to do so!
(Mr. Smith has an “animal coat” which is a hit among some junior high students. It is raccoon with sheep trim, we think. I couldn’t write about animal apparel without including it!)
Blessed Christmas Season to you all!