I do sincerely believe that children are not given enough time these days to just daydream. Daydreaming is undervalued. In a society where new parents scramble to make geniuses out of their kids with Baby Einstein videos, and designer toys that were drafted by some developmental scientist in Sweden, one has to wonder how we as a society survived and flourished for so long on nothing but a rattle and our fists.
Really, some of our greatest thinkers and inventors were bored off their cloth-diapered asses as children. They were left alone for hours while parents toiled in fields, homes, and factories with not much for entertainment but the world at large around them. It was their world, all they knew existed, so they figured they'd better make the most of it.
By the way, I didn't mean to imply that these innovators' parents were negligent and physically left them unattended to fend for themselves. What I meant was that they weren't shuttling Jr. Genius around to Gymboree. They weren't plopping them in a musical chair that buzzed and lit up in front of a 60 inch big screen with surround sound so they could watch dancing shapes announcing themselves to soporific tunes. Parents were too busy then to obsess over their children's cognitive development, and thankfully great thinkers and ponderers flourished.
Oh I know parents mean well, and they want to do what's best for their children. I probably would have been drawn to those brightly-colored, whimsical playthings when my kids were little. Fortuitously this childhood consumer conundrum did not launch until after my youngest was already toddling around bashing his head in trying to keep up with his brother and sisters.
Furthermore, I am all for safety. I was quite the safety Nazi when my kids were little, but really a helmet on a tricycle? If your toddler has the ability to drive that vehicle fast enough to crash and cause a serious head-trauma, and you can't keep up with her, maybe she shouldn't be let out of the house!