Bruce Lund's Essay 2 - The Value of Toys

by Bruce Lund | 13 Jun 2024

Industry Commentary, Op-Ed

Toys are machines around which play is created.

Toys have influenced many important designers and artists

Toys matter to all of us and to the world as a whole


Creating and bringing toys to market is like delivering nutritious food to the brains of children everywhere to help them grow and develop to their greatest potentials. This matters, because the brains we are feeding will one day feed the world.



In Inventing Kindergarten, by Norman Brosterman, you find some great examples of the influence of ‘toys’.  Many of the twentieth century’s greatest artists, designers, architects, and visionaries, Mondrian and Frank Lloyd Wright are two examples, were influenced by play with these toys created by the inventor of the first Kindergarten in Europe.   


Nobel-prize-winning scientist Sir Harry Kroto once remarked in a BBC that one of the disasters of modern life is that the Erector Set has been displaced by Legos.  While others may disagree about the Lego analogy, what he is saying is the profound result society gets from play with toys. 


Another researcher, Brown cites a University of Michigan study that found that children at that time were spending half as much time playing outside as they had twenty years earlier. Instead, they spent an average of more than six hours each day with electronic media, in front of some kind of electronic screen.


Brown makes the case that there is a connection between the decrease in outdoor play time and the great increase in childhood obesity, ADHD, childhood depression, and other social maladies.  Brown suggests in the New York Times article, we need a “change in public consciousness about play— to show that it is not trivial or elective.”  Toys and Games matter.   Play is essential.


Can it be that toys and physical play are just what the doctor ordered for a healthy, well-adjusted child? The toy industry should be shouting from the rooftops the critical .importance and extraordinary benefits children reap from simply playing with toys.


Toys enable play; toys are the implements around which play is organized. Toys help children experience joy.   They help them learn how to make and keep friends. Toys are tools through which children learn how to make decisions, regulate their own behavior, and follow rules.  Toys help us learn how our 3D world operates.


Toys help develop the imagination. They are essential components of a child’s happiness and good mental health.   They help us to learn to function successfully in our world.


In other words, toys, and games matter.

value of play

Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!