This just in from Planet Obvious: simple toys are good for your kids. Nancy Gibbs says so, backing it up with some good points and interesting history, in Time's Power of Classic Toys.
"The best toys transcend, their survival a testament to their purpose and power. The Babylonians played board games; the ancient Greeks had yo-yos. The Chinese were flying kites 3,000 years ago. The worst toys are the opposite: overdesigned, overengineered, the product of so much imagination on the part of the toymaker that they require none from the child."
That's good news for any parents out there who cringe that the thought of spending hundreds on tech-y toys this holiday season. (Or for parents who just really, really want to play with a Slinky again.)