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Library Revives Joy of Traditional Toys

29/07/2010

A New England libraryheld a special event to introduce modern kids to the wonders ofpre-electronic traditional toys in July.

By James Tweedie

The Hepburn Library inthe New York state town of Edwards hosted the afternoon programme ofabout old-fashioned toys, games and puzzles on July 27.

Parents reminisced whilechildren tried out home-made wooden toys, like a dancing Jack, trainwhistle, Jacob's ladder, spinning tops and a ball and cup toy.

Old favourites like aSlinky, yo-yos, jacks, marbles, dominoes, a View-Master, skipping ropesand hula-hoops were also on hand for children to try out.

Librarian Elaine Archersaid: "We wanted to show kids you can have fun without using thecomputer, show them what children used to do for entertainment. It'sthe first time we've done this."

Seven year-old SheaCicciarelli tried spinning a yo-yo for the first time in her life andhad fun playing pick-up sticks.

"I liked the yo-yo.I always wanted one," she said.

Her five year-old brotherAnthony tried out the dancing Jack, a wooden toy that bounces up anddown.

Edwards Historian LaverneFreeman explained that past generations used to sing a tune whileplaying with the dancing jack.

"Either the kids, ifthey were big enough, or their parents would make most of the toys,"Ms Freeman told the children. "Toys weren't so readily availableat the store. If you wanted them, your family made them."

93 year-oldEleanor Austinsaid that she attended the afternoon with her daughter Alice becauseshe wanted to see children playing with toys from her youth.

"I think kids yearsago had twice as much fun as they do today," Mrs Austin said. "Ithink my own kids were very happy and I don't think they had anystore-bought toys."

Andrea Webb said that shewas not against children playing with electronic games, so long as they also took outdoor exercise.

"I don't thinkcomputers are bad. I notice that in this community the kids are stilloutside quite a bit," she said.

Michelle Scheiderich fromCarthage brought her two children and one of their friends to theexhibition.

"We're here spendingthe day at Trout Lake and doing this," Mrs Scheiderich said. "IfI don't pull them away from the computer, that's what they'd bedoing."


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