Commercializing Play

CCFC Q&A: Commercial Quandaries for Modern Parents

by: 

Susan Linn

Q: We made the mistake of letting Thomas into our almost-four-year-old's life and now he is obsessed. I like the wooden track as it encourages creativity and problem solving (and there are plenty of non-Thomas trains for it) but I cringe daily at the requests for ever more characters and so forth to add to his collection. I wish I had looked into it more before exposing him to it—we like trains in our family, that's about all the thinking that went into it. Is there any undoing this?

TOADY 2014: The Case for Barbie Loves Girl Scouts

Each year, the Toy Industry Association gathers to present its TOTY (Toy Of The Year) Awards. In honor of the industry that has led the way in commercializing childhood, CCFC will present its TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award for the Worst Toy of the Year. From thousands of toys that promote precocious sexuality to children and push branded and screen-based entertainment at the expense of children’s play, CCFC has selected five exceptional finalists.

The Grammie Guide—Activities and Answer for Grandparents Today

This thoughtful book by Lynne Noel, Jan Eby, Laurie Mobilio, and Cindy Summers—grandparents to a combined 22 kids—is an informative guide to grandparenting young children in our modern, screen-saturated world. The authors rightly recognize that grandparents have a special role to play in fostering the hands-on, creative play that children need to thrive.

Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween

Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pal and Ballcap Buddies has written a wonderful handbook for parents trying to navigate the maelstrom of sexualized and stifling gender messages marketing to girls. Redefining Girly begins with Wardy’s account of her own transformation from an exasperated mom to effective activist. The rest of the book is packed—and we mean packed—with practical and concrete advice for parents who are trying to counter the damaging stereotypes for girls.

Beyond Winning: Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment

One byproduct of a commercialized childhood is that the values of the marketplace are adopted in all aspects of children’s lives. This is particularly clear in the realm of organized sports for children—where winning and competitiveness often crowd out the sheer joy of playing a game. Beyond Winning offers an alternative approach to teaching sports to kids. It deemphasizes short-term goals like winning and youth championships and discourages the introduction of adult-oriented, league-structured competition.

The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age

CCFC has long been at the forefront of the movement to reduce children’s screen time—and The Big Disconnect is an important tool for helping families and people who work with children address this challenging issue. As families are more and more consumed by screens —children constantly texting their friends, parents working online around the clock—everyday life is undergoing a massive transformation. Easy availability to the Internet and social media has erased the boundaries that protect children from the unsavory aspects of adult life.

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