By Michael Rielly
Children prefer simple objects over toys because they’re “not limited” to being a single thing
For kids, versatility might be the way to go — as far as toys are concerned, anyway.
May 2, 2019
by Alexandru Micu
I have it on reasonable authority that kids are very likely to ignore a particular toy and make a starry-eyed beeline for the box it came in. I haven’t got any of my own, so I can’t attest to the accuracy of that, but I do have a cat — so I can relate to how confusing such an experience might be.
But fret not, parents around the world, for science comes to the rescue. A new study from the University of Alabama reports that children, particularly those at preschool age, are probably attracted to generic objects because they make for more versatile toys.
“The inclusion of generic objects like sticks and boxes may allow children to extend their play because the generic objects can be used as multiple things,” said lead author Dr. Sherwood Burns-Nader, UA assistant professor of human development and family studies.
“Pretend play such as object substitution has so many benefits, such as increased socialization and problem solving.”
A cardboard box can become virtually anything in the mind of a child, the researchers say. In contrast, a spaceship or unicorn toy — despite being much more visually appealing — is doomed to remain a spaceship or unicorn for as long as you play with it. And therein lies the reason why children, especially younger ones, would generally prefer to play with the box.
Children often substitute one object for another during play. A stick can become a sword, a rifle, or a pen. But such substitutions aren’t made lightly — the object has to have a passable resemblance to the one it’s being substituted for. As such, an object’s features such as shape or markings can disqualify it completely for a certain play-task.
By Carlo Klemm
This was taken from the organizing committee on Facebook for Parade of Lights in Edmonton
Santa's Parade of Lights
March 13, 2019 @ 10:07 AM ·
"With sad hearts we announce that RWE Events will no longer produce Santa’s Parade of Lights.
Thanks to all the sponsors, participants and most importantly, people of Edmonton for their support.
We’re proud of our little parade and the joy it brought to so many people."
I have been the Santa in this Outdoor Parade since it started in 2015. Of course I feel sad about
#1, Edmonton losing a parade (Calgary has not had a parade for 6+ years)
#2, That a big emotional thrill is now gone from this Santa's life. (Anyone who does a major parade in a large city, especially a Capital City, can attest to the emotions involved in getting ready for and actually partaking in the annual parade.)
I got this email back from the people who have staged this parade in the last 4 years...
We share your disappointment, believe me. Unfortunately, though, we just couldn’t get the financial commitment we need to keep it going.
As you know, Canadian Tire dropped out as title sponsor last year (we don’t know why), and there just isn’t anyone else stepping up. Plus, we applied for a grant from the City and didn’t get it.
It is very discouraging that there wasn’t enough support overall in Edmonton for this parade.
However, we loved doing it and especially loved working with you every year! We really will miss that!
Anyway, I enjoyed our experience last year and at the same time, anything is possible! Someone might step forward and make this happen. But for now, so long!
Enjoy your Santa duties elsewhere this year. And remember – if we ever do resurrect the parade, you will be first Santa we call!
Take care and thanks for your kind words, Carlo!
The competitive business of recruiting pro Santas
The professional Santa business can be cutthroat and demanding — and sometimes, it takes an agent to guide the sleigh.
BY ZACHARY CROCKETT DECEMBER 15, 2018 The Hustle EXCERPT: Eight years ago, Kelly Ferrell, a 51-year-old retired cop, was sitting on a bench at a shopping mall in Texas when he was approached by an unfamiliar woman.
“Pardon me, sir,” she implored, “but have you ever considered… being Santa Claus?”
Ferrell certainly looked the part: Since stepping down from the force, he’d grown a “big ‘ol white beard.” He was a little on the heavier-set side, with rosy cheeks and kind eyes He had, the woman said, the potential for greatness.
And so, Ferrell “became” Santa — not by the grace of self-determination or the Spirit of Christmas, but the keen eye of a Santa scout.
Beneath its wholesome exterior, the professional Santa business is a complex, occasionally cutthroat industry, where top performers are sought after much like professional athletes. But once you’re in the minor leagues, how do you learn the ropes? How do you navigate the business side of things, or negotiate contracts?
You get a Santa agent.
The Santa industrial complex
As it turned out, the woman who approached Ferrell worked for the Noerr Corporation (now Cherry Hill), a Santa training and staffing agency.
“I call them Santa wranglers,” says Ferrell. “They hang out at malls or other populated areas and throw their pitch at every white-bearded guy who comes through. They really beat the bushes to find us.”
Intrigued by the adventure of it all, Ferrell agreed to give it a shot.