My son (9) has been really, really, into the Pokemon TCG for about a year now. It has waned once, but it is his main interest. He usually only has one, and he will live and breathe it for however long it holds his interest. We have been taking him to a league so he can play. My 6 yo is also interested, but mostly because he wants to do things with his brother and that is pretty much all he does. There are good things about it, I know there is a lot of learning going on, and the people at league seem to be really good people. There are adults there who organize and play it and we play at home as a family, too. So I like the community aspect of it.
There are some things I am conflicted about; I've had to really figure out what my approach to buying new cards and spending money on this "hobby" is; sometimes it's hard for me to say NO to them but eventually I am encouraging them to play with what they have and not think about constantly getting new cards. We also don't (and won't) do video games and we talk to the kids about why and they seem to understand our reasoning. The only other thing that bothers me is the immense amount of time and concentration put into what is a make -believe world, rather than our natural world (I have read a lot of Montessori so that is what colors my thinking on this. She says that our natural world is beautiful and amazing enough to not need to bother with fairy tales and make believe, something along those lines.)
Last night, we were out in the backyard late at night, and I gave the boys camping lanterns and they went up in the tree house and I could hear them reading a Pokemon handbook, comparing the sizes of different Pokemon. Before Pokemon, they would have been reading about dinosaurs, or sea animals, or insects, and right now they are not reading any non-fiction at all. I'm a little sad about that.
As a side note, I do think there are a lot of good things about this hobby, and earlier this month we attended the Pokemon National Championships (we live in Indy) and it was pretty fun (they did not play competitively this year but they would like to next year.) I just wish it wasn't the only, all-encompassing interest that it is right now.
I don't know what to say except I HATE POKEMON. My dd and her friends have been fascinated by Pokemon for two years and they collect, play, and discuss it with each other. I have absolutely no problem with make believe, I think it is an important developmentally phase that allows kids to explore many different roles in a safe and comfortable way (they can be the good guy, the bad guy, invincible, the mother, the father, a baby again, etc...)
I just really can't stand the freakin cards because they have ignited a materialistic desire in my dd that she never had before and there is a never ending variety that makes her always want another pack of cards. I thought that her desire for Barbies was getting out of hand because she'd get a few new ones a year but that was nothing compared to Pokemon. If she actually played with them a lot I might feel differently but she only plays with them on playdates when a friend who likes Pokemon is over. I have stopped bringing her money to the store with us when we go because if she has no money she is fine saving up for something she really wants more, if she has money she compulsively buys the cards. I also have her help me remember not to buy something that isn't on the list because I too have things I buy compulsively and I am hoping that modeling coping with it in a healthy way will help her manage this phase.
If you are looking to build interest in other family games I suggest thrift shopping or going to garage sells as a family to look for board games. My dd absolutely loves thrift shops and has tried many games and puzzles because we got them at a thrift store. We usually shop then go home and try it out right away.
Does he get an allowance? I would ask him to buy cards with his allowance.
My ds just started being interested in Pokemon (and I admit I'm a bit surprised and nostalgic to see my little boy who was watching Dora and Diego not long ago, suddenly like "big kid" cartoons). He is currently saving his allowance to buy his first cards.
I see it as an opportunity to teach him about prioritizing for what he likes and that he can't have everything.
I don't agree with the Montessori idea in your post; if it were true, we wouldn't have the beautiful Greek and Roman legends, or the Grimm's fairy tales, or even the Lord of the Rings.
Well as far as the materialistic aspect, I encourage them to play (you only need 60 cards in order to play) and not collect. They now have enough cards that they should be able to trade for any other cards they would like. I also told them I'm not buying any more cards. They don't get an allowance, but they have birthday money.
Montessori would probably say those myths and stories are great for adults for older children, but they would not be introduced to young children who are still learning what is factual and true.
We do play together, and we are also teaching them some other family games. I just told the 9 year old to play rummy. I guess it's just something we have to learn to manage, and I have to keep introducing them to other interests. I'm trying to get them interested in the Olympics right now, and although we don't watch TV, we'll start watching tonight. :)
My daughter and all the daycare kids were into pokemon about 12 years ago. I didn't mind it. It kept them busy for hours.
However, when we moved away, I got rid of her cards, and she had two huge binders of them. I wish more than anything i'd kept them.
Yes, I play the game with them, and I'm already a regular reader of sixprizes, just so I can have stuff to say to them and they're like, "Wow, mama, that's cool" LOL
I guess it was good for me to think through this a little bit. I am taking them to a prerelease tournament tomorrow, but for the last two days we've been all about the Olympics, and had the globe out, so it hasn't been all Pokemon like it usually is.
my friends sons are into Pokeman. REALLY into it. if they had been my sons i would not have stopped them. have you seen what all they have to memorize? wow it blows my mind. i find it a GREAT hobby and it teaches a VERY big lesson - focus. your kids are old enough to know the bigger picture of whats real and what's not.
now i am sorry mama. our kids hardly get any nature unless its a planned activity. a backyard is not nature - without props the backyard can be quite a boring place to live in.
dd's best friend is into baseball statistics and even "I" buy him cards. that kid is a walking statistician. i see no difference between baseballs and pokemon .
as long as they have a balance (which of course you have to instill) i would be totally ok with the pokemon cards.
at our house dd is an avid reader. you will hear me yell to her sometimes - stop reading and go watch a movie, or go online.
i would definitely let your 9 year old play in a league.
Well, this week I have introduced him to chess and am relieved that he also finds this a fun challenge. We will continue to go to Pokemon league, but it doesn't seem to be the all-encompassing obsession now that school has started. Yes, I agree, learning to focus and memorize will be great in the long run.
Oh - our backyard has quite a bit of nature ;)