There are so many electronic distractions for kids growing up today. I remember when I was in elementary school most of my favorite toys or items were things that I crafted out of things in my house. I explored and played around with materials and created solutions for making the ideas I had come to life.
One vivid memory of a prop I wanted was the Indiana Jones bull whip. Of course what parent would give their 9 year old child a bull whip as a toy right? So I set off looking for possible materials to fashion my own bull whip. Our fax machine at the time had paper that was wound up on a thick piece of cardboard tubing. My father received a lot of faxes then, so these hard durable tubes were always in the trash. I grabbed one of those and went looking for a nylon packaging rope that had once tied up a few boxes. I threaded the rope into the fax roll, tied off the ends and voila! A bull whip! I played with that thing for a very, very long time.
Mark Fraunfelder, founder of Boing Boing, intentionally creates room for his daughters to experience this type of thinking. Rather than having children live in a closed off setting and having the digital world take over their minds, he's showing them how to make things and how to use their imagination.
When the day comes that I have children of my own, I'm definitely going to be crafting and creating projects with them.