Yesterday as I was driving the children to church, they were talking about how popular Legos are. We were discussing how long they’ve been around and how there have been other companies who have tried to imitate Legos throughout the years (Tyco, Mega Blocks, etc.), but we don’t like those as well as true Legos.
Christopher said if he could, he would build a machine that would copy the best Lego sets and their instructions so that he could have as many as he wanted, but Micah said that would be copyright infringement. (We have talked a lot about this since we live in an age where it is very easy to steal someone else’s ideas. We want the children to know that copyright infringement, plagiarizing, and other forms of illegal copying are bad . Too many people think it’s ok to copy other people’s ideas, but it isn’t.)
After a discussion about the differences between a copyright and a patent, we talked about how the most successful, long-lasting toys throughout the years have been building-type toys. The things that come and go are the fast-paced toys that kids get bored with after a few weeks. They also seem to break more easily and end up increasing our land fills by millions of pounds each year, I’m sure. On the other hand, Blocks, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Legos and other building toys have held their interest for generations. I encouraged the children to think of some type of building toy that they could create and market one day.
They were very thoughtful for a bit and finally Daniel said, “We could make a doll.” I was immediately thinking… “Oh, great. I can’t wait to see where this goes. How are they going to make a doll into a building toy?”
All at once, everyone was talking…
– “Yeah, and it could have removable parts – arms, legs, hair, and everything.”
– “And we could change it’s head to different faces!”
– “And it could have different clothes, too.”
After a few minutes, Christopher (the future doctor) said, “And we could even make little organs to go inside its body. We could have a liver, kidneys, a stomach, a heart, and other body parts and then we could take those out of the abdomen and study them. Then it would be a toy that would count as schoolwork, too!”
I just KNEW it would come to this…
So then Micah (the future scientist) said, “Yeah, and we could make the whole thing out of ballistics gel and then people could shoot the doll and study what happens to all the organs after you shoot it!”
Of course Hannah (the future Mommy who now loves dolls at age six) was going crazy at this point… “NO! You can’t make a doll that you’ll shoot. And I don’t think you should take its organs out to study them, either!…”
Now I assure you that my children are not sociopaths. They are just very creative children with active imaginations. And I did ask them to think of a toy so I guess it was my own fault, after all. Fortunately, it’s not a long drive to our church and we arrived just in time to end the conversation so that the children could go in and converse about something other than ballistics gel dolls, I’m sure.