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Readers Write: Kids don't need fancy toys; Voters need ID

Letters to the Editor from the weekly print issue of February 13, 2012: In response to the cover story 'Time to play,' one reader emphasizes the importance of children having unstructured time for creative play (especially in nature), not overstimulated by fancy toys. Another reader takes issue with the concern that requiring voters to have ID will deter minority and young voters.

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Play – without the fancy toys

Many thanks for bringing parents' and children's issues to the Monitor with the Jan. 23 cover story "Time for play."

I was, however, a bit taken aback by the images accompanying the article and accompanying sidebars about play: In every image, the children were playing with, in, or on expensive branded plastic and metal toys, and in many shots, the children were indoors.

Could we be encouraging parents to be playing with their children – and more important, allowing their children to play – in nature? This setting and form of play has the great advantage of being readily available, free of charge, good for the planet, and deeply relaxing.

On the subject of play, these simplifying insights can be helpful:

• Having too many toys invites emotional disconnect and a sense of being overwhelmed.

• The child given less and less complexity will cultivate true powers of attention.

• Children's play flourishes when we let it, rather than make it, happen.

Opposing voter ID is wrong

"A showdown over voter ID" in the Jan. 16 issue summarizes the debate over voter ID in this question: "Do stronger state voter ID laws really curtail the minority franchise?"

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