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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Preschool Magnetic Playset [1988]

"Welcome to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, where anything can happen and where children can pretend to their hearts' content!"

I came across this somewhat rare piece of Mister Rogers memorabilia not too long ago -- a Preschool magnetic playset from 1988. I was pretty thrilled to find that it still had all 20 "extra-large magnetic pieces" in the box as well as the original instruction manual.

A "creative way to learn and play with magnets," this set comes complete with a 12" x 18" playboard featuring the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, 20 magentic pieces, and a message from Mister Rogers to parents and children. Fred Rogers' message to parents is this:
Play is often the "work" of childhood. Through play, children can learn to solve problems, be creative, and express their innermost feelings. Of course, pretending is one important way to play. Through pretending, children can learn what it is like to be in charge, and they can safely "try out" a whole variety of situations. 
Sometimes parents ask how they can help their children to play and pretend. I've come to believe the most useful thing we can do is to be available to our children when they need us. They may need some gentle encouragement to start playing or to continue playing, but often just our being nearby will be enough. It's important that children stay in control of their own play and play out their feelings without too much direction or interference. For instance, asking them from time to time if they'd like to tell you what they're playing about shows you're interested in what they're doing. That's real encouragement, and it can be more helpful than trying to think up new kinds of play that we think they'd enjoy. 
One of the very best ways for us to encourage children's play is to be willing to play with them when they want us to. Setting aside that kind of time tells chidren we understand that play is important business and that we value their imagination and curiosity. In fact, it tells children we value them, and that's the best outcome of all! 
Your having been a child once is your best preparation for understanding your own children. Hopefully, your children at play -- alone or with others -- can evoke feelings of real pleasure for you who care so much about them and their healthy growing.
Respectfully,

Fred Rogers
What an encouraging message for parents! Not only that, what a challenge offered by Fred Rogers for parents to spend quality time with their children. The Preschool Magnetic Playset offers children a great opportunity to use their imaginations as they set their own Neighborhood stage.

© 1988 Family Communications Inc., Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood
The Neighborhood puppets and the Neighborhood Trolley and Design are trademarks and copyrights of Fred M. Rogers
Manufactured by American Publishing
A Division of The Putnam Publishing Group New York, NY

1 comment:

Eric Scales said...

Nice find! I'm always surprised when I see how recently this stuff was available. I certainly don't remember any Mr Rogers merchandise growing up, except for one X the Owl puppet on a 1991 trip to Hawaii. Very odd, but that stuff must have been out there. I wonder where it was being sold that I didn't see it.