The best toys

Recently, wired.com wrote an article listing out the best toys of all time.  What they chose might surprise you; go here for the list.

Their findings tell us a few things about entertainment and activities in the camping context.

  1. Flashy isn’t necessarily Fantastic.  As recruiting campers becomes a greater challenge, many campsites are hoping to increase numbers by bringing in more exiting and flashy games and activities.  They get water slides, videogames, louder music, better costumes, and anything else that will make camp seem like a more exciting place to be.  The problem with this philosophy is that camps can rarely compete with the flash.  Campsites will never be amusement parks, they will never be theatres, and they will never be malls; they are fighting a losing battle.  And the more campsites try to win this war, the fewer resources they have available to emphasis the strengths and values they DO have.
  2. Bigger isn’t always Better.  Another strategy camps use to increase numbers is to become bigger.  They get bigger water slides, larger paintball courses, better stocked stores.  They add conference centers and family-sized cabins.  They offer a wider selection of foods and more activity choices.  This strategy is actually often effective, but only to a certain extent.  The more resources are spread out, the harder it will be to maintain quality.  Each campsite needs to carefully consider the strengths and assets of their own camp before taking the ‘bigger’ approach to things, because sometimes bigger prevents campsites from being able to focus on being small–but better.
  3. Sometimes the oldies are the goodies.  Generally speaking, it is a good idea to be on the lookout for new and unique ideas that are a good fit for your campsite.  But sometimes the oldest games are the most enjoyable.  Sometimes an old format is effective.  Sometimes an old activity can be purposeful.  It is also important to note that sometimes your campers are unfamiliar with old games like Jenga, pick-up sticks, and Candyland.  When reintroduced, these games are accepted with enthusiasm.

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