My Toy Philosophy
If you have followed me for awhile, then you have heard me talk about being conscious consumer. I am currently working on this in all aspects of my life, especially when it comes to Liv and her toys. I read somewhere that "consuming for consumption's sake is an epidemic- especially when it comes to our kids." this struck a chord with me.
I am guilty of this just like the next person. I think I get more excited walking down the toy aisle at Target then Liv does... And I have to admit I have not once looked for used toys at a second-hand store. So I buy new toys, which Liv doesnt need, in turn, these toys clutter our home until they eventually break (because I bought cheap plastic toys)... and then what? I can't even begin to imagine the number of plastic toys in our landfills.
Over the last year, I have made an effort in keeping a small(ish) number of toys in our home. I am pleased with how well Liv plays, cares for and cleans up her toys and I am crediting it all to having a minimal amount of toys in the house.
Here are 7 reasons fewer toys can benefit our children.
1. Fosters imagination and creativity
Fewer toys = more imagination. There is a ton of research out there all supporting this idea. A vet barbie can only be a vet, but a stack of blocks and become anything.
There are numerous articles on the subject, a popular one being 'The nursery that took all the children's toys away' that takes a look at how children reacted when all their toys were taken away. It is interesting how the children reacted.
2. Kids develop longer attention spans
It is surprising, but research has shown that children play less the more toys they get. An article in the General explains why this is,
"When they have a large number of toys, there seems to be a distraction element, and when children are distracted, they do not learn or play well."
3. Establish better social skills
Creative play is where kids develop social skills. They learn to share and are forced to compromise on how the toy is used, all of this helps them learn to deal with social conflict. Which in turn will help them throughout their lives and will make it easier to make friends.
4. Learn to take greater care of things.
When they have too many toys, they will naturally take less care of them. This is especially true when kids have multiples or similar toys; they get the impression their toys are easily replaceable.
5. Develop love for reading, writing, and art
I have found this especially true in our home. Liv loves to read, color and do art projects. If she had a million toys distracting her, I don't think she would stay focused enough for these activities and in turn wouldn't have developed a love for them.
6. Cleanup is manageable and the kids can do it themselves! Liv cleans up her toys every time(ish). Because she only has a few toys, it is easy for her to do. It even seems as if she feels a sense of accomplishment when she does, which in turn encourages her to clean up her toys the next time.
7. Calmer, cleaner environment. I always say a calm organized space is a calm organized mind. This is not only true for adults, but it is true for our kids as well.
I am not claiming to know it all, or imply that my way is the only way. I still have a lot to do when it comes to Liv's toys. I coming months I will be working on:
1. Better organizing the toys we do have (inspired by Montessori learning).
2. Which in turn means buying more task-based toys as well as open-ended toys (toys that can be used in a variety of ways).
3. Quality over Quantity. I am making an effort to buy better quality toys (less plastic) that will last a long time. Trying to minimize the toys ending up in our landfills.
Whenever I find toys that I love I try to share it on my Instagram stories, and I will also start adding them under the 'Shop' tab under 'seen on instagram'. Some of the toys you see pictured that I really like are blocks from Evolve Toys they have a lot of task based toys and I see us getting a lot of these in the future. Learning/work books from Shoebox Media, which you can find at Costco and Walmart. Learning Resources toys, especially the Veggie Farm Sorting kit. You also see a lot of B. Toys which has been a favorite of mine since Liv was born.
The shelf that is pictured is from Wayfair and you can find it here.