On the occasions when I go to McDonalds I usually get a Mighty Kids Meal, which is similar to the Happy Meal, only with a little more food. So for about $3.50 I get a small fry, 6 chicken nuggets, a small drink AND a toy (Thats a good deal if I say so myself) In the last Mighty Kids Meal I bought, the toy was actually a CD. A CD as the toy in the new happy meals. The CD has five tracks, and its one of those KidzBop CD's, so there are covers of more popular songs done by kids with some of the words altered.
There was an insert with the CD, one side said:
Rock On! Play KidzBop Tunes on your McWorld Music Player! Only at happymeal.com.
and the other said:
You could be a KidzBop star! Create your video and upload it to kidzbop.com. See who's starring today!
My first thought on this was how un-kid like this whole Happy Meal "toy" was. It seems very reminiscent of more adult entertainment forms of the iPod and iTunes and youtube. When I went to kidzbop.com I was sort of surprised that it is pretty much a children's version of youtube mixed with a little iTunes. Kids have loggins, where they can access their "music stations" and they are encouraged to upload videos and host webshows!
Now, I understand that happymeal.com and kidzbop.com are attempting to offer alternatives to websites that may have content not suitable for kids, and that is wonderful, but is it old fashioned of me to think that children's Happy Meal toys should encourage imagination a little more? Dolls, puzzles, figurines, etc. Are we past the time when children play with non-electronic toys, and create their own worlds? I use to play Barbie dolls for HOURS. I created different families, and stories lines, and was entertained for a very long time by my own imagination.
As adults I think we are primarily entertained by various screens for hours on end. In my mind kids should have, or have, a different type of entertainment regime. While our toys are gadgets and gizmos, theirs are stuffed animals, blocks, dolls, and figurines or coloring and drawing.
Are we turning into a species where our main entertainment source is motherboards and microprocessors, as soon as we hop out of the womb? Is this a good or bad thing?