It was raining and cold. Windy too. Although I wanted to stay inside, poor weather prevented my son from getting out of the house the past week. When there was finally a break in the gray, it was time to end the cabin fever. I thought about places he would enjoy, and perhaps me too.
And then it hit me: Best Buy.
It was a Saturday. My wife was out for the day enjoying so much needed R&R. So I would have my son the entire day. My only instructions were that my son needed to get out of the house.
Best Buy. Done and done.
I got my son dressed, bundling him in a jacket and pants. I put a hat on his head three or four times, because he repeatedly took it off his head. His shoes went on easier than expected. Then I got dressed as he ran around the house in anticipation of where we would be going.
Park! Park! Park!
We drove a couple of minutes and stopped in front of the giant yellow price tag in the sky. Walking through the parking lot, my son looked around, probably wondering, “Where are the slides?” We walked through the doors to a festival of lights, sounds, and colorful displays. My son’s eyes lit up, probably thinking, “Way better than slides! Way better than slides!”
For the better part of an hour, we walked the aisles of Best Buy. There was no rhyme or reason to the path I took throughout the store, besides my son pointing and toddler grunting “Uhhh! Uhhh!” (Translation: “That way Dada!”) Cradled in my arm, he was the wind and sail through our technological odyssey through an ocean of electronics as I skillfully dodged Best Buy staff trying to figure out what we were doing.
My Son’s Favorite Sections
What’s not to love about these if you’re a toddler? You touch them and there is an immediate response on the screen. It produces sounds and shakes to provide physical feedback.
I opened the camera app and he started to wave to himself when he appeared on the screen. And then he started talking to himself… loudly. Most shoppers within 100 feet could hear my son happily video chatting himself. I shyly smiled around at people within ear shot, then stealthy dismissed ourselves from the tablet section.
I held up my son so he could see the speaker display. He began lunging to press down on the glowing white and red buttons, as if he were a moth beckoning for a porch light at night. As soon as the button was pressed, the speakers would start booming music. Some of the speakers had lights, which sparkled a rainbow of patterns that flashed and dimmed to the beat of the music.
My son would have stayed at this display longer, but Dada’s arms gets tired.
A promo image, but not too far from my son’s experience.
Big Screen Televisions
The first thing my son wanted to do when he saw the gigantic television sets was touch them. He probably thought they were enormous tablets. Not the case. I held him at a distance, but he was still mesmerized by the giant colorful animals and the surround sound of birds flapping their wings. We walked by rows upon rows of forty, fifty, and sixty-inch television sets, each with images of oceans and forests, sports teams and dancers, and overhead views of European villas. Throughout the entire time, my son didn’t say a word. He was completely mesmerized.
Like an electrically powered blue ice tunnel.
When our time was done and my arm felt like it was ready to fall off, we left Best Buy. My son whined as I started sitting him back in his car seat, wanting to push more glowing buttons, see colorful screens, and listen to more music. And I understood why: being around all of that technology provided him with a sensory wonderland of experiences.
There are times when routine, everyday places for adults can be wonderful experiences for children. You just have to adopt a child’s eye, which is one in constant wonder and awe of everything around them. When you can switch your perspective to a child’s – even briefly – then you’ll have an enjoyable insight into the delight of childhood.