Toys play a familiar role in our childhood and can become an unforgettable part of our lives. Our interaction with toys at a young age is an experience that we often carry throughout our lives. Toys are more than just something kids play with, as they can have a meaningful impact on their development. Think back to your favourite toy. Why was it your favourite toy? How did playing with the toy make you feel? Hopefully reminiscing on your childhood toys brings back feelings of excitement, imagination, and comfort. The ability to entertain ourselves is an amazing skill, which we usually develop at a young age. We can plunge ourselves into extraordinary scenarios by exercising our minds and delving into our endless imaginations.
The definition of a toy and how each individual plays with toys is a flexible phenomenon. The broad definition of a toy and subjective perspectives lends the opportunity for creative thought. When playing with certain toys we are not bound by its physicality but can rather let our minds roam free. Playing with toy cars and being able to imagine oneself in a flashy, eco-friendly car, driving on the open road, leaves your imagination to wander. The simple act of playing with toys turns on our creativity and broadens our everyday perspective.
Children often make a connection with toys and even develop a sense of companionship, especially with their cuddly teddy bear. This attachment to toys at a young age often permeates our adult life. Whether it be building model trains, flying kites, or even driving remote control cars, we seem to always find a need for toys.
I recently spoke with Rebecca, the owner of Citizen Kid on Locke Street. Her toy shop provides alternative options to licensed toys. In addition, Citizen Kid offers safer, more ethical toys that also appeal to a child’s imagination. For example, the toys at Citizen Kid are made from natural materials, do not use batteries, and have limited plastic. In comparison, many traditional toys are made completely of chemically infused plastic, which can both harm a child and damage the environment. Citizen Kid offers toys made of recyclable materials, ensuring the toys do not contribute to clogging landfills or harming the environment. This commitment to eco-conscious products and fair trade practices is a refreshing approach to toys.
Often, we do not realize the "real cost" of the items we buy for our children. Aside from the obvious economic cost, the ecological and ethical cost to buying some toys is incredible. Many toys today are made cheaply in countries that thrive on unethical labour practices. Citizen Kid provides customers with fair trade and local toys, which ensures both high quality and upstanding business practices. Rebecca suggests that we need to realize there are alternatives to mainstream, licensed toys, so why not take advantage of it? For example, giving your child a starter science experiment kit or a nature diary set is so much more engaging than most conventional toys.
The community on Locke Street is generally conscious of fair trade and environmental practices, thus having a shop like Citizen Kid is a valuable addition. The Locke area continues to be a child friendly community where new families desire to raise their children. The availability of a toy store like Citizen Kid provides accessible options for a safer, more imaginable childhood.
The variety of toys at Citizen Kid also lends for "outsiders" to become part of the Hamilton community. For example, some of the toys at Citizen Kid are from parts of Europe, such as Germany. Rebecca has told me that some customers feel a sense of “home” when they recognize toys from their childhood. Having this sense of "home" in a new place is both comforting and reassuring. Citizen Kid’s appeal to Hamilton’s diversity is an important aspect of creating a strong community and sense of inclusion.
Finding imaginative, safe, and local toys can be rare in a saturated commercial market. At Citizen Kid, be assured that the environment, workers, producers, and customers are now safer and treated fairly. Take a trip down to Citizen Kid at 188 Locke Street South and have some fun!
Visit the Citizen Kid website here