Good Evening, Friends!
Just getting my Thinking Aloud Thursday 08.2019 post written, now that it’s Friday evening. I always have the best of intentions but LIFE. Sometimes I just have to live it without taking time to write about it! Today I want to share new ways to play. Or make that new ways that my granddolls are playing. Linking-up with my friend Penny at Penny’s Passion for this series. Hope you will stop by to see what she’s thinking out loud about this week, too.
How many of you gals loved a rousing game of Barbies when you were a little girl? I played with my dolls until I was in eighth grade. In fact, in 7th and 8th grades, I was a cheerleader but still – kind of secretly – playing Barbies with my BFFs, Nancy and Sharon, who were also cheerleaders.
Today, little girls often ‘outgrow’ playing dolls, Barbies before they are into their double digits in age. According to the article “3 Reasons Barbie Is Too Uncool for Tweens” by Denise Van Patten, on The Spruce Crafts,
In the early 2000s, people began noticing that girls were outgrowing Barbies as early as age 8.
That fact did not go unnoticed by Mattel. In answer to Barbie’s declining popularity among tween and pre-tween girls, they created the My Scene dolls.
These dolls were also Mattel’s answer to the Bratz dolls that had, at that time, an edge on the fashion doll market among the tween and pre-tween set. The article by Van Patten offers 3 reasons why Barbie is no longer cool among girls ages 9-12.
- Barbies are too pink. Their frilly, feminine clothing doesn’t appeal to all little girls. Which is one of the reasons I bought my daughters a Lammily doll a piece for their daughters. In fact, I even wrote a post about Lammily, here.
- Playing Barbies now days doesn’t require a lot of imagination. There’s a Barbie for every occasion. And a Ken, Chelsea, etc., etc. Birthday Barbie, Mermaid Barbie, Ballet Barbie, even Chicken Farmer Barbie. What? Yeah, Chicken Farmer Barbie. Kids don’t have to pretend anything about Barbie because she comes with every accessory, outfit, career…even mermaid tail. I always wanted a Ken when I was little but for some reason my parents never gave me one. So, I used a bald Barbie (who came with a variety of wigs) as my Ken. That took some imagination!
- Little girls are growing up earlier. For whatever reason – hormones in the chicken we eat, evolution, today’s culture – girls are developing at a younger age and their interests are maturing earlier, too.
When I visited Ft. Worth, 2 weeks ago, I was thrilled to see that my newly 9 year-old granddaughter Cadence is still playing with Barbies. They are probably about her favorite toy. Cady has all of the accessories, the condo, the camper, and many, many dolls, including 2 Kens. Yet she is still very creative in her play. She makes books for them, uses Play-Doh to make all kinds of things for their houses. She creates quite elaborate story lines and will play through a story one day and then pick up and continue the story the next time she plays.
But it seems there is a new way Cady is playing Barbies.
Come Play With Me
About a year ago, Brennyn told me that Cady had started watching other little girls playing Barbie on YouTube. I couldn’t imagine what she meant so Brennyn explained that little girls have YouTube channels where they make videos of themselves playing with their dolls. My immediate reaction was that was kind of cute. But then I saw a few of the videos and realized this is big business! Cady’s preferred Barbie channel is called Come Play With Me. Have a look. This video is over 16 minutes long but hope you will just watch a few seconds to see how extensive this Barbie play has become.
Isn’t that incredible? Look at all of that STUFF! Do you think those are children manipulating the dolls or adults? Children holding the purse strings for all that stuff or adults? And Cady watches these other ‘children playing’ sometimes instead of playing with Barbies herself.
While I was visiting we watched a few seconds of a Come Play with Me video then made a quick, not quite-as-elaborate video, ourselves. Check us out!
It was actually kind of fun doing this. And I can see if we had a story line and all of the props, it could be almost like performing a play or puppet show. Still, I am not too sure what I think about watching other kids play. If, indeed, the Come Play With Me videos are other kids playing.
Not to be out done, Lucia is also watching videos of kids playing.
Playing with Play-Doh
My 3 year-old grand loves playing with slime, putty and Play-Doh. I’ve never been that keen on the stuff because it seemed messy to me. When the girls were little, they would wind up with bits of Play-Doh all over the house. Lucia and I had a lot of fun with her unicorn putty, recently, making bunnies. We started playing on the tile floor but then moved our putty to a large cookie sheet. This putty is kind of cool because it changes color with temperature. The longer we worked with it, the lighter purple it turned. So on our bunnies below, the last thing we made was the balloon on the far right.
Lucia isn’t quite able to make things with her putty by herself. She did help me roll out ‘worms’ to use for the arms and legs and little balls for the eyes. However, I don’t think she is quite ready to make dimensional or even flat objects yet. But Cia has taken her play to a new level.
Play Doh Toys For Kids
This little one is now watching videos where other kids and adults are playing with Play-Doh. She will ask to watch ‘play-doh’ or ‘slime’ movies. One of her favorite YouTube channels is Play-Doh Toys for Kids, with over 3 million subscribers. We watched this video or one very similar together the other day. I was mesmerized. Who knew there were kits to make all of these things with Play-Doh? These creations make our simple bunnies look downright primitive.
Kind of fun, huh? But I can’t decide if these videos inspire or repress creativity. What do you think?
Other New Ways to Play
Cady has a cousin (by marriage), Aalia, who lives in Frisco, Texas, about 60 minutes away. Although Aalia is only 5, she and Cady have a lot of fun together. But with the busy schedules of both families, the girls don’t see each other often. So they have come up with a way to play together in spite of the miles between them. They Facetime with each other and play Barbies together. Sweet but kind of sad, too, I think.
And Lucia has begun surfing the Internet. Lauren had parental controls, of course, on her ‘tableta’ (Spanish for tablet). But Lucia had begun clicking from one Play-Doh video to a slime video to a putty video to a nursery rhyme video in English to a nursery rhyme video in Korean to a video about the colors in Chinese. They were all kid-friendly but Lauren began to worry when Cia started singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” in her version of a foreign language in which she had heard it sung on YouTube. Of course, Lucia wasn’t signing the song accurately or fluently in Arabic.
Francisco and Lauren are teaching Lucia Spanish because all of the her daddy’s family speaks Spanish. But we are a little concerned about her watching videos in a rainbow of various languages, afraid she will become really confused right now. Still, it was kind of cute hearing her sweet voice singing in her own version of Arabic.
What do you think about these new ways of playing? Are the children in your life playing in ways different to those you played as a child? In our busy lives these days, children often don’t have the opportunity or even the place to play outside like I did as a child. Cady hasn’t yet learned to ride the bicycle I gave her for Christmas. By the time both of my grands get home from daycare, it is too late to play in the backyard or have a little friend over. So their play has had to evolve or adapt. But it makes me a little sad. It seems that this is another way today’s children are missing out on interacting with other children. What do you think?
I remember how excited I would get as a little girl when the Sears and Roebuck Christmas catalog would arrive in our mailbox. My brother, sister and I would pore over it, circling dozens of things we wanted from clothes to toys to bicycles and other athletic equipment. And then, when Christmas had come and gone, I would cut out the clothing models and use them as paper dolls. Such fun. Who needs a Ken when you have an underwear model from the Sears catalog?
Thank you for stopping by today. Would love to hear what you think about these new ways to play in a comment below. Hope you will find a few minutes to join me on Sunday for a special post. Until then…
Hugs and kisses,