16 Jun 2011

Ever stop to think?

Posted by Holli

This week the new pair of siblings, Jamesson and Kimerlie, have their first volunteer spending time with them on the the balcony. I sat for a minute this morning and watched the interaction between Kimberlie and her volunteer, Karen. Scattered between them on the blue mat was a set of wooden blocks. Karen demonstrated how to stack one block on top of another. Kimberlie caught on immediately and followed suit. They took turns stacking until the tower reached six blocks high and began to teeter, Kimberlie caught them between her chubby hands to keep from toppling over.

This may not strike anyone as particularly impressive,  except when you stop to think that Kimberlie has most likely never played with toys before. They are a foreign concept to a child as small as Kimberlie who has not been introduced to them before.

Toys are a luxury here. Older children make their own toys, or might be lucky to receive a donated toy from various organizations (GLA gave out a number of  toys from earthquake donations). Some cheap and second hand toys are sold on the street, but many families cannot afford them for their children. You see these little makeshift cars everywhere.

Hoop&stickOther common makeshift toys are good old fashioned hoop & sticks and paper kites.

Once children reach an age of resourcefulness they are able to construct their entertainment.

But young children such as Kimberlie are not exposed to these items created for the purpose of play. Thus we see many Haitian children with developmental delays. I’ve never stopped to ponder the importance of toys before. They are not only for the purpose of play, they can teach children to build, communicate, problem solve. Toys stimulate and feed the imagination.

Everyone can think back to their favorite toys.

Now little Kimberlie has a balcony full of toys to explore. Let the learning and fun begin!

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