Saturday, March 29, 2014

eco-lent: week 4, just say "no" to new toys!

Lately, my seven-year-old is obsessed with a computer game (also available on other devices) called Minecraft. He bought the iPad version with some of his birthday money. In this game, you walk around and build stuff, as far as I can tell. You also get attacked by zombies and creepers at night. You can blow stuff up with TNT, including animals, because that's how you eat them. This is what I know about this game; don't press me on details. (Said 7yo is slightly disturbed about blowing up animals since he's a vegetarian, but decided it's OK because that's the only food source in the game. I'm just glad he feels disturbed about blowing up animals. But I digress.)

The other day he came home from a play date with a couple LEGO magazines, which is great. He loves LEGOs, too, and I generally think highly of LEGOs. They're not cheap, but they last forever because they're a quality product, and they encourage creativity. (Plus, did anyone see the recent Lego Movie??? So great! Or should I say "awesome"?!) They may be made out of plastic, but it's not like he's eating them, so I think it's OK.

In the LEGO magazines were pictures of--get this--Minecraft LEGO sets. What could be better than combining two of his favorite things?! So he was very excited and wanted to visit the website, at which point I realized that these tiny sets of LEGOs were $34.99 and no way was I going to buy them--that's more expensive than the computer game. Also, it got me thinking about the ridiculousness of the fact that Minecraft is basically LEGOs on the computer, and then they're turning around and making LEGOs out of the LEGO computer game, and charging more for them because they have little pixelated faces on them.

Therefore, I suggested that he basically already had LEGO Minecraft, because he had square pieces with which he could build whatever he wanted without even having to use a screen.

WOAH! 7yo mind *blown*.

So today, he spent his morning making his own Minecraft LEGO people and animals, and proceeded to build a house for them and play with them for much of the rest of the day (in between accosting innocent visitors with vivid descriptions of each character and what they do). From left: sheep, cow, villager, "Steve," zombie, creeper and ghast.

I realized this is exactly what I'm supposed to be working on this week with my eco-lent theme of buying less. He showed me how much more fun it is and how much creativity is involved when we're willing to buy less, use what we have, and make the things our hearts really desire. He took so much pleasure in creating these and playing with them and telling people about them. He might have been excited if he'd gotten the official set, but it seems like he's more personally connected to these and proud of them because of the effort and creativity he put in. What a great example! (He was also really excited that I was putting a picture on my blog, so make sure to tell him you liked them, next time you see him.)

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