One of the funniest memories I have of my granddaughter, Rachel, as a preschooler is when she would hit the “decline” button on my cell phone to prevent an incoming call from interrupting her video game. She would hear the ring tone and automatically hit the button without taking her eyes off her game.
Let’s face it. These days much of children’s play time finds them on electronic devices.
Last week, The Gathering Place in Clarks Summit hosted “Pop-Up! Kidazzle Play Day” in which children ages 3-8 and their caregivers had the chance to sample toys “that will let a child’s imagination run free,” according to a promotion for the event. Kidazzle Boutique owner Sonia Wysochanski was on hand with the latest games, puzzles and art supplies for children to try with plenty of hands-on fun time. Samples included a biodegradable natural crafting toy, a glimmering green putty that shines in the dark and washable, dust-free, odorless markers for wood, whiteboards, chalkboards, paper or glass.
Wysochanski, owner of Kidazzle, a Clarks Summit clothing and toy boutique, said the play date was a hit with children who participated and the parents or caregivers who brought them to the event.
Even though children live in an electronics-driven world today, traditional toys are still popular and beneficial to them, said Wysochanski.
“Children are given screens at too early an age when they should be developing social skills, thinking and imagination, and learning to sit and play,” she said. “Many studies are out about long-term effects of electronics on a young brain.”
Wysochanski is an expert on the topic as a mother and as a businesswoman. A resident of the Abingtons since 1976, she was a stay-at-home mom to two daughters, Lisa and Cyndi, while they were young. She became a Clarks Summit entrepreneur in 1983 and now her stores include The Drapery Shop, Closet Werks, Sonia’s Contemporary Clothing and Kidazzle, which she opened in 2003.
“It started out with mostly clothing but now games are a focus for us, much more fun.” Wysochanski said.
She noted, “When my girls got bigger, they helped me at the drapery shop until they left for college, and Lisa rejoined us after school bringing new ideas and new venues.”
In fact, Lisa selected the toys for The Gathering Place play date at a recent toy show.
“Lisa went to the toy show at the Javits Center (in New York) for two days to get fun new games, toys and crafts and art supplies. We wanted to show them off so our kind vendors gave us samples to use. The Gathering Place graciously said we could use their facility and a play date just came naturally,” Wysochanski said.
She added, “Lisa and I, as well as my granddaughters, love toys and games so this is something we can teach parents to do for their children.”
Teri Lyon is a mom, grandmom and freelance writer who lives in Glenburn Township with her cat.