Yesterday I found myself inside a toy store, a major chain that we are all familiar with. What a sad commentary on what items we’re providing our children with and calling them toys. Walking the isles, I would say over 80% of the toys were related to either television shows or movies. Talk about “product placement!”
It’s what I didn’t see that even worries me more. No chemistry sets and no microscope sets. Apparently, Chemistry sets are now viewed as “too dangerous” for children to play with. I wonder when that happened and why?
Was it the same percentage of injuries and deaths that caused those infamous lawn darts to be pulled from the market? I’m sure we all remember losing friends and family to those things! Apparently the 35,000 automobile deaths and 440,000 smoking deaths EACH AND EVERY YEAR pale in comparison to all the children that were done in by their chemistry sets.
What really was killed was the excitement about learning that these toys instilled in young people.
When I was a kid, I had three chemistry sets combined into one giant lab, with a microscope set up in the middle. It was exciting to learn about chemicals, formulas, and to carry out the little experiments, which were detailed in the chemistry set manual. It wasn’t just me; I started conducting a science club every Saturday morning for the neighborhood and the other kids had just as much fun as I did.
This love of science, which came from these “toys”, was so ingrained; I later earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology, followed by a Master’s of Science Degree. When I got to the age where I could take the biology and chemistry classes in high school, I knew most of the underlying scientific principles already, all from all the “fun” I had with my microscope and chemistry sets.
Maybe the same correlation is still true. Maybe today’s children will take the subtle product placement lessons with them and go on to become slick advertizing executives for entertainment companies – all at the expense of our future scientists.