Kelly is a mom to an energetic four-year-old girl with various hobbies from hiking, fishing, and camping to backyard chicken keeping.
Christmas Toy Fever
Christmas is nearing faster than a toddler running away from nap time. For parents of small children, this means the annual pursuit to find the hottest toy of the Christmas season. Parents are terrified to disappoint their small children on one of the most cherished days of the entire year. Let's recap here; parents don't want to disappoint their children. The same children who find boogers fascinating, creepy-crawly bugs captivating, farts hilarious, and a game of hide-and-go-seek thrilling. So why, are we all worried about spending money on plastic toys that make noise, beep, buzz, and take time away from real life interactions?
I've realized that less is more when it comes to Christmas presents. To be honest, my daughter would have been content with the first two Christmas gifts she opened last year. As a parent of an only child, it's too easy to go overboard. As a result, the majority of Christmas toys eventually end up stuffed in a plastic container and tucked in a closet or hidden underneath a bed, quickly forgotten and dismissed.
Needless to say, the countdown to Christmas 2018 begins. My 4 year old's wish list includes, but not limited to: L.O.L. Surprise "entire doll collection," as she likes to call it, My Little Pony superhero collection, her very own camera, and of course a Hatchimal. And surely, as Christmas nears and my daughter chitchats with her fellow preschool friends, I am certain her requests will continue to grow to a nearly endless Christmas list.
Five Reasons Why We Chose to Hatch Chicks Instead
While I'm personally intrigued by the concept of a Hatchimal, I'm trying to switch our focus from buying things to having real-life experiences. As technology advances, toys become more interactive and we become more connected than ever, I feel that we have become disconnected from real life and our family members. Here are the reasons why we chose to hatch chicks instead of buying into the Hatchimal craze.
1. It's an Educational Experience
Hatching eggs can be quite the educational experience, especially for the little ones. I find it quite amazing the number of questions a four-year-old can ask about a single egg. Thankfully, I have found that there are resources out there to help answer the harder questions, and I've provided a link below for those interested.
An Educational Hatching Guide
- Beginner Guide to Hatching Chicks
Children have a natural sense of curiosity about living things in the world around them. Embryology: Hatching Classroom Projects is designed for teachers to help student develop life skills related to science processes of hatching eggs.
A Growing Chick
2. Children Learn Patience
Unlike Hatchimals that crack open within 25 minutes, chicks take 21 days to become fully developed and hatch out of their egg. Even then, some chicks never hatch; whether it's due to faulty genetics, a fault in the incubating process, or just nature itself. We live in the day and age of instant gratification, and what better way to teach children that good things come to those who wait?
3. Children Learn the Concept of Commitment
Teaching a child the concept of commitment may be similar to teaching a cheetah to slow down. Impossible? Maybe. But it's worth a try. With the push for more technologically advanced toys for our children, I feel we are teaching them all the wrong lessons about how to interact with other beings. In this day and age, commitment ends at the turn of an off button or the shutting of a laptop. Hatching chicks takes a daily commitment to ensure perfect conditions for a perfect hatch (a dream, rather than a reality in most cases). Once the chicks hatch, commitment is required for the survival of the quickly growing balls of fluff and their journey to a full grown chicken.
4. Enjoy the simple things
Watching chicks grow and hatch is truly a rewarding experience while enjoying the miracle that is life. Chicks can take up to 24 hours to hatch, and we often find ourselves huddled around the incubator cheering on the tiny chicks as they find their way into the real world.
5. Children Learn to Accept failure
While the purpose of incubating chicken eggs is to hatch chicks, one has to accept the risk of failure. While I’ve heard stories of Hatchimals never hatching, I’d say it’s not nearly as disappointing as a fully grown chick that fails to hatch. You can always pry the Hatchimal out of its' shell, but you have to look inside that chicken egg to determine why it failed to hatch and thus, accepting failure (whether it's yours or simply nature). A lot of things can happen in the incubating process. Sometimes you find eggs were never fertilized at all, or maybe an embryo just gives up despite perfect conditions. It can be frustrating, but in the process, you teach your children to accept the losses and learn from failures, rather than crying over an unhatched egg.
An Interesting Perspective on the Side Effect of Robotic Toys on Children
Why It's Okay to Buy That Hatchimal
While we may pass on buying that Hatchimal this Christmas, other novelty toys of the season are still on our list. I'm certainly not promoting chick-hatching for the inexperienced or faint of heart. A Hatchimal may very well be the best toy for your child this Christmas. I will say that Hatchimals are significantly cleaner and extremely low-maintenance gift compared to hatching baby chicks.
In conclusion, this Christmas, I dare you to disconnect the internet, turn off the TV, and spend time with your children and family. Whether it's five minutes or all day, there's something we can learn from simply spending time with each other without technology there to "enhance" it.
© 2018 Kelly Wagner