I'm Jon Olick. I make shiny things. I simplify.

I presented Sparse Voxel Octrees at Siggraph 2008.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Message to Baby Toy Makers

Why is it that baby toy makers are compelled to take simple songs and nursery rhymes and add notes everywhere and make them overall much more complex. This is harder for babies. They need to start out with simple tunes and patterns and then when they are older build to more complex ones. I get the feeling like very few baby toys are actually designed to be educational for babies, and instead they are designed to be pacifiers, ala the horrible baby einstein (should be baby caveman cause thats what it will make your baby (and no, this is not a geico pun)). Another example is so called baby books where they pay more attention to rhyming words than the simplicity of the words they use. I mean common now... kids need common simple patterns, not complex ones that aren't used by their parents regularly that sound nice. Ok, so this makes finding good toys hard, but it also means that it is far easier for other people to gift bad toys to your kid than it is to gift good ones. The only reason that this works at all is that people trust the kid toy makers to make good toys, and the vast majority of them obviously have no idea what they are doing.

So anyway, the lesson to learn is buy simple toys for young children, then when they master those toys buy slightly more complex ones, and so on. Take the time to measure the simplicity of the toys that your child is playing with as any time you spend now teaching can have profound effects on your child's future. For example, if you set out walking north for 1 hour, but then later decided to change directions and you wanted to go 1 hour south instead, it would now take 2 hours to walk south (not including the 1 hour you spend walking north wasting your time), than if you originally just went south in the first place.

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