A new great granddaughter has arrived in my life. Living in the same home with my new great granddaughter, has introduced me to a whole new adventure 21st Century toys!
Toys which light up, talk, play music, dance, entertain, but above all, they teach. Nothing has been overlooked in making sure that each and every toy, will in some way, implant the future in Courtney's thought process.
This set me to wondering about the toys that Indian children had in times long ago. What I learned might surprise you.
While Indian children did not have the abundance of toys found in children's' homes today, what toys Indian children did have influenced their thoughts every bit as much, as the automated toys children play with today.
When an Indian father set out to make his son a toy canoe, an Indian father did not just make the boy something that would float. No, an Indian father made an exact miniature of the real thing, using the same materials, and the exact dimensions, as if he were making a real canoe.
Boys also had toys of hunting and warfare, properly made, according to where they lived, and their culture.
A Plains boy would have a toy bow and arrow, a Tlingit boy, a toy kayak with a man in it holding a whaling spear, or a dogsled carved out of ivory, all perfect replicas.
Little girls on the Plains had dolls, and all the things found in keeping house, each piece scaled to match the real thing.
Toy tepees were sometimes decorated to express family pride, as long as no spiritual messages were improperly represented.
The inside would have floor covering, and all the furnishings were just like the real thing. There were even small cradleboards.
Dolls came in all styles, depending upon the culture, from the Tlingit dressed in fur, to the corn doll, the beads and buckskin doll of the Plains, and the Navajo doll, distinguished by its lovely velvet top and flowing skirt.
Even Kachinas were represented as dolls to Hopi children. Indian children loved them all.
Books, as we know them, did not exist, yet Indian children were never at a loss for wonderful stories, told to them by parents, grandparents, and tribal elders.
Storytelling was always an exciting experience for adults and children alike. Storytelling was a way of passing down tribal history and tradition, and in addition, storytelling had parental guidance, something which we could use more of, considering what television offers our children today.
I could fill pages about Native American toys. Suffice to say, that Native American toys all had the prime elements of teaching, in the same way as toys do today.
At just over four months, my great granddaughter, Courtney, already shows preference for a special toy, as many children do.
This takes me back to my own childhood, and my favourite toy. My favourite toy wasn't a doll, my favourite toy was a clothespin! I would to go outside and fill my mother's washtub with water. That favourite clothespin would then become a magic ship, which would take me on adventures all over the world!
To this day, travel, and where I have been, remains the highlight of my life!
Do toys really teach and inspire?
You bet they do!
Grandmother Two Bears.
This story and many mores stories are now available in the new book The Story Teller by Grandmother Two Bears. To order the Grandmother Two Bears book, use the following button.
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