My kids love phones. Real phones. Toy phones. Imaginary phones. Banana phones. All of it. My twins like to hold objects to their ears and say, “Huh-Wo!” (that’s almost-2-year-old speak for “Hello” in case you couldn’t tell). And my preschooler will have entire conversations on his fake phone, but clams up if you hold a real one to his ear (much to the chagrin of his grandparents). They all love pushing the buttons.
A few interesting things have struck me recently about all this pretend phone play.
1.) How do my kids know that bananas look like old-school phones?
We’ve all done it–put one end of an unpeeled banana up to our ear while the other end rests down by our mouth, just like phones from a few decades ago. They are the perfect shape for emulating a telephone.
But the thing is that no phone in my house looks like a banana anymore. In my adult life, I’ve never owned a phone that did. My kids started doing the banana phone trick without me showing them. How do they know this? Is it ingrained in our DNA? Banana = phone. Maybe my kids had past lives in the 1980s? Or maybe they are geniuses? Or maybe they saw it on TV? Who knows.
2.) Technology and pretend phone play
First of all, technological advances have given kids more access to phones. As well as made it easier for them to find shapes that look like phones.
I mean, those poor kids in the early 1900s needed at least two cup-like shapes. Or, perhaps, two fisted hands–one at the ear and one at the mouth. It’s easy to see how tin cans on a string became “phones”.
Of course, the above-mentioned banana shape.
Cordless phones made it easy for remote controls to become the new pretend phone, not that playing with a remote is any more desirable than letting your kids play with the actual phone. Trust me, as one of the last families on earth to still have a landline, my kids seem to think both the remote and the phone are hot commodities.
But now, kids just need a flat rectangular item and BOOM! Phone. Is anything lost with the imaginative strength there? Not sure.
3.) Kids can also do a lot more than just pretend to call grandma.
They can pretend text her. And pretend email her. And pretend to take pictures and videos. And pretend-play Angry Birds. Just the other day my son held his flat palm against his ear and said, “I’m talking on my AT&T Smartphone” and then proceeded to call his cousin to discuss robots.
That’s the future, peeps. Smartphones and robots. Out of the mouths of babes. It’s no wonder by age 5 kids end up better at using technology than their parents. I’m still hung up on the amazingness of banana phones, and my son is Smartphoning his 2 1/2-year-old cousin. Add another one to the list of “Things That Make Me Feel Old.”
Of course, just for fun, banana handsets for iPhones are available. Now I think I’ve seen everything.