Society has mades us believe that our children need (even want!) a lot of toys. Shelves are filled with hundreds of toys, all with bright lights and sounds to attract children. It has gone way overboard, sucking kids in and putting guilt on parents who don’t buy their kids 10 toys for Christmas. The truth is, kids are pretty simple. Give them a bowl of water, some stickers or finger paint, stacking toys or a race car track, blocks to build a castle or sand to make a tunnel and they’ll be entertained.
My son just turned one, and even still, he very rarely plays with toys. We don’t have a lot to begin with, but he finds that tupperware, utensils, and random day to day objects are much more interesting. He has 3 baskets of toys that aren’t even all full, and one ride on truck toy. I plan to keep his toys to a minimum and I’m going to try very hard not to get roped into buying him every gadget out there. I simply don’t think having a lot of toys is necessary.
Sure, our children do need toys. Toys aren’t bad at all. Toys provide learning opportunities, a creative outlet and plain ol’ fun! But an entire playroom devoted to toys plus the corner in the family room plus the bedroom? Too much in my opinion.
My tip is to rotate your children’s toys. Every month or so bring out a new toy or two, and put another one away. Your child will forget he ever had the toy and it will seem brand new! If you think you do have too many toys, because your house is becoming cluttered with them or your child seems to never play with them, give them away or try to sell them.
Remember that toys don’t have to be the singing, talking, dancing, walking machine that sings the ABC’s, talks in Spanish, and has a mouth designed for colored blocks. Toys are what you make them. A bucket with a hole in your backyard is a toy. The empty pop bottles that you fill with rice and small treasures is a toy. The blankets laying over the couches is a toy.
Save your money. Buy quality toys that will last. Stick to the classics that have provided fun for generations. Inspire creativity in your children by giving them the chance to play with “basic” toys, and dig into that arts and crafts corner. Toys are fun, and toys are part of childhood. But remember, chances are your parent or grandparent grew up with a lot less toys than your child today.