Should moms be taught how to play with cars?

Humbled by Hot Wheels? You’re not alone, according to mom bloggers and toy manufacturers.

Photo by trazomefreak via Flickr.

It’s kind of hard to understand how these little plastic machines can be so much fun.
Raijean Stroud, Chicago-based mom/blogger on the importance of Mattel’s Hot Wheels event
One of my son’s first toys was a Hot Wheels car given to him on his first birthday. Since then, his collection of toy cars has swelled to more than 100, a number I’m embarrassed to admit. Toy cars are such a big part of our day-to-day life that you’re guaranteed to find at least one in each of my coat pockets, a few in the glove box of our car and a couple banging around in the dryer (because I don’t empty pockets before I do laundry). I’m not particularly good at playing cars — especially now that our son dreams up complicated rules for every race we have — but I try. 
That’s why the recent Bloomberg Businessweek headline “Mattel teaching moms to play Hot Wheels in bid to revive iconic toy cars” grabbed my attention. Last month, Mattel invited influential mommy bloggers to a swank event in New York to “discuss one of the great mysteries of modern life: why moms don’t know how to play Hot Wheels with their sons.” Citing stagnant growth in the Hot Wheels brand, the toy manufacturer believes that if mothers better understood how a Hot Wheels car worked — and the benefits of playing with them — that sales will improve. Scrapbooking, brainstorming, Bloody Marys and mimosas were all part of the event.
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I asked a few friends what they thought of the event. Allison, mom of a son and a daughter, said that it’s dolls she has a harder time with, even though she loved them as a child. Andria, mom of two girls, says her kids love Transformers and trains — and they play with a red sports car from when she was growing up. However it was Kirsten, mom of two boys, who said it best: This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read. 

I admit one of the challenges of being a parent is that, with your childhood far behind you, remembering how to play like a kid is hard. And it’s OK to admit that you don’t like Lego or hate Play-Doh, but do you really need to be taught how to stack plastic bricks together or roll dough into balls? The action of building Lego brick houses is no more difficult than rolling a toy car across the floor and making the appropriate crashing noises when it dents the baseboards on the other side of the room (and, honestly, that’s all it takes to get a belly laugh from a pre-schooler). If moms need to be taught how to play with toy cars, are workshops for dads who don’t know how to play with dolls needed? Somehow I don’t see that happening. 

My advice is to listen to your children — they are the only ones who can truly teach you the joy of imaginative play.
Which of your children’s toys do you not like to play with? Do you think you benefit from a lesson on how to play with their toys?
Photo by trazomefreak via Flickr.

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