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ceived. All painted toys, too, especially for infants, are pernicious; because they may be put to the mouth and the colour swallowed. Figures cut out in gingerbread, gilt over as they may be with Dutch metal ; the ornaments and figures of painted confectionary, painted sugar plums, all which are given for amusement, or to be eaten, are hurtful.* But it is not necessary, however, to go further in this consideration, for every sensible mother, who herself trains up her children, will soon learn what amusements and toys are hurtful, by observing the child, and by examination of the matter of which the toy is composed, as well as the use to which it is to be applied. It is not so easy, perhaps, to recollect or invent a round of amusements for very active children ; and on this account the few following are selected from general ones, as being safe, and, except in a few instances, of
It should first, however, be premised, when speaking of proper toys, that all little vessels, cups, dishes, plates, &c. purchased for children, should be of glazed earthenware, white bone, or ivory, plain wood, or pure tin, without any admixture whatever. If paint be allowed, it should be oil colours alone, unadulterated with orpiment, white lead, or other dangerous ingredient. Children may then cook and prepare their dishes to their fancy, without any risk of poisoning themselves, which otherwise can hardly be the
And, secondly, that our child should never be
* To the learned physician, Dr. Strure, I am indebted for these hints.
allowed to leave the room in confusion, when the toys have been pulled out for his amusement. He should be made to put away in a play-box, or low shelf, or cupboard, all his litter, before he may seek any other resource whatever.
Unravelling and winding thread, or silk; stripping the fringe from feathers of which pillows are to be made ; sorting the large from the small; picking out from a quantity, and laying in separate heaps, hen, turkey, partridge, guinea-fowl, and peacocks' feathers; twisting strips of paper for chimney-piece watch papers ; filling pincushions with bran or wool; brushing or rubbing a mahogany table or stool ; sweeping the carpet with a little broom; sorting out rags from a bag,* the bits of print; cotton, linen, muslin, cambric, dimity, jean, silk, lawn, satin, sarsnet, persian, velvet, ribbon, tape, thread, sewing silk, &c. &c., all one from another, and naming them. Plaiting straw for bonnets;t picking moss, or wool; sorting shells; working with the needle ; cutting out paper toys with a little pair of round scissars ; arranging the work basket; scrawling on a slate; marking a sheet of paper with lead pencil ; dressing, undressing, or working for the doll, or rocking her in her cradle; tossing, or rolling a soft leather ball; pasting little pictures with gum water, or fresh paste, on wood, or mill board ; putting a few letters of type together, and stamping
* A fine little girl of four years, whom I know, has a bag full of rags, which affurds her many an hour's amusement,
t I have seen little children of four years of age, in Dunstable, plaiting straw as fast as little fingers can be moved, who have made fourteen yards of plait in one day, with ease, and without any compulsion.
off the name of any person, or thing; rubbing out pencil marks with India rubber ;* putting the pieces of a dissected map together ; whipping or spinning a top, or humming top : digging, weeding, planting, sowing, watering a garden ; filling a small watering-pot with water, not from a pond, but from any other vessel, or small cistern ; gathering wild flowers, herbs, vegetables, stones, moss, acorns, chesnuts, potatoes ; all these are amusements which a child may enjoy with advantage.t
But a child pursuing some of these, or other amusements, will leap, run, slide, or climb in such a manner as to hurt himself. If the injury be trifling, it is advisable not to take much notice, and if the crying and complaint soon cease, there will hardly be a necessity for alarm. Perhaps a very giddy or boisterous child may be sufficiently reproved, by a mother remarking as coldly as she can, “ you should not have ventured so far, and you only suffer for your carelessness.” But she should not, upon such occasions, very harshly blame, or the child may at another time endeavour to conceal the accident, and his feelings, to his very serious moral or physical injury. The fright or pain is generally sufficient punishment, without any other aggravation.
* A large piece of India rubber, or the whole of a bottle, lest it should be put into the mouth and swallowed.
t A few others, old fashioned, it is true, but ever interesting to childhood, may be added. Blind man's buff; Puss in the corner; Questions and Commands; Forfeits; My lady's Toilette ; Hunt the Slipper; Prison Bars; Base Ball; Hide and Seek; Cross Questions ; and Riddles; but these last should be selected with great care for tender and innocent minds.
MY DEAR SON, IS HE A PLEASANT CHILD?" "I WAS A WITTY CHILD, YEA RATHER BEING GOOD." I HAVE JUDGED IN MINE HEART TO BE HAPPY, A MAN THAT HATH JOY OF HIS CHILDREN."
Per animals are often a great source of amusement to children; and to good-natured ones afford great delight. As this subject has been already considered in part, it will not long detain us.
The ancients, who in many respects paid more attention to the education of their children, and were more anxious to secure moral virtues for them, than we are, held that of humanity, by which they meant kindness to brutes, as well as men, to be one of the very principal, and most indispensable. Plutarch, in his life of Cato the Censor, remarks that humanity may be extended through the whole order of creatures, even to the meanest. “Such actions of charity being the overflowings of a mild good-nature on all below us, it is,” he continues, "certainly the part of a well-natured man to take care of his horses and dogs, not only in expectation of their labour while they are foals and whelps, but even when old age has made them incapable of service." We are told of a wise and polite nation, that rejected a person of the first quality who stood candidate for a judiciary office, only be
cause he had been observed in his youth to take pleasure in tearing and murdering birds ;* and of another that expelled a man out of the senate for dashing a bird against the ground which had taken shelter in his bosom; and it is reported to have been said by Cato (not the Censor), that if we kill an animal for our provision, we should do it with the meltings of compassion, and without tormenting it: for that in destroying it, we at any rate take away a life that has sense and perception. Above all are the Holy Scriptures considerate on this point; the Almighty often mentioning his cattle, and birds, and fishes, and insects, to recommend them to man. Children, then, who find pleasure in keeping animals, should be kind and careful to make them happy, and the same children should never be permitted for one moment's diversion to teaze, much less to hurt them.
Did I say to hurt? Praised be the God who made us, he never formed the human heart to delight in scenes of pain, cruelty, and blood. We start back in horror at savage wantonness in description : can we smile if we are present at the very scene in reality ? No, we cannot; we had rather, a thousand times, shut our eyes and ears, and run far away ; unless, indeed, scenes of cruelty have been acted before us in infancy, and that custom have reconciled us to them. If the “ poor beetle," spider, or worm, have been trodden to death before us in childhood, we shall put forth the foot to kill and slay in after years ; partly becaus we do not consider how great is the pang
* Guardian, No. 61.