Are kids really so different from when we were their age? Over the past years, I’ve always answered that question with a big YES. They are exposed to technology that wasn’t invented when we were younger. Their movies and music (often ) includes more violence or bad language than we saw until we were much older. There are many ways in which, yes, children today are different. But this weekend, I was also reminded of how kids are kids… no matter what generation they were born in.
Our son, Brian, visited us this week, bringing our grandson, Owen, and granddaughter, Ella.
One day we visited Yosemite National Park. (Because of Covid-19, the guests at the park were minimal, making social distancing very easy.) As we explored the park, I noticed that Owen and Ella wanted to climb on rocks, walk on walls, and jump off anything and everything. As I recalled my family’s trips to Big Bear Lake, I remembered doing the same things. In fact, climbing the rocks at the campground was my absolute favorite thing to do.
We lived in a house across the street from a large field. One of my fondest memories as a child is of saving my allowance so I could buy a 10¢ paper kite at the drug store, assembling it, and then flying it in the field until it crashed and broke.
Owen has a monthly subscription to KiwiCo, which is a company that makes and sends the subscriber a box of “tools” for creative learning.” This month, one of the projects was making a kite, which he did while at our house. The kite looks different from the ones I used to make, but Owen loved making it and flying it.
As a child I loved to draw and paint. Cardboard boxes were the best. Ella thinks so too.
Playing in a tub outside on a hot day is still fun!
So is painting red bricks black to make a street out of them, watching cars race down ramps, and not really wanting to smile for the camera.
There were other reminders too. Like when everyone excitedly decided to create a paper mache pinata, but the kids quickly lost interest and the adult (me!) was left with a stack of torn papers and paper mache paste.
The first thing Owen asked when he woke up each morning was if he could have his “Amazon time.” (He is allowed 10 minutes a day to browse the toy section on Amazon.) I used to look at a Sears or JCPenney catalog.
So, yes, technology has made a difference in their lives, their toys are more sophisticated than ours were, kids today are exposed to a lot more than we were at their age…. but the bottom line is kids like to play. So perhaps we’re not really so different after all.