Sunday, July 12, 2009

A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook that is titled Simplifying Your Child Playroom. I admit that when I join Anna on playdates at other people houses I sometimes feel guilty that our daughter doesn't have nearly as many toys as most of her friends. When she was born, we were renting a very small house. We moved since then, but she still doesn't have a playroom. Her toys live in her bedroom, and her art and preschool stuff lives in our family room that also doubles as eat-in kitchen. Mean parents don't allow her to spread to the rest of the house (correction - there are many books in the bathroom, since she liked to listen to the books or look at the books by herself while sitting on the toilet - just like her parents :)).
The article makes a good point about electronic toys, but this is one of the areas that we've made some decisions early on. It was easier for us, since we didn't grow up on Fisher Price toys. We refrained from buying any toys or books with batteries except a few sound toys (books with songs). Instead we went for household objects, self-made shakers, simple blocks and balls when Anna was a baby and expanded into mostly building toys as she grew older.
When I feel tempted to buy her another toy, I really have to ask myself - how can she play with it? Does it extend what she already has? Will it interest her for more than a couple of days? Most of the time the answer is "no". Practically all the toys and games she has have been one-hit wonders. Her favorite toys at the moment are:
  • Trains, especially since we caved in and bought a battery-operated engine
  • Doctor kit (battery in this toy stethoscope never worked)
  • Toy kitchen - her interest changes over time, but it's something that she likes to play with
I hope that we will continue to have a good balance in our small house - giving her toys and activities to encourage her imagination without ending up with a lot of junk consuming our limited space and without bowing to I want the same toy my friend has pressure that is bound to come at some point. Of course, it also implies that we have to remove the toys that lost its appeal once in a while - something that I have planned for today. I am curious to see how others manage toy expansion in their homes.


Teaching My Little BookWorm said...

we are guilty leapfrog toy buyers! they are educational and can be used for soo many years! those are the only electronic toys we buy or have.

we have lots of teaching manipulatives and homemade wood toys!

great post! :)

Christy said...

Guilty as charged. We have WAY TOO MANY TOYS! I actually did a post about this a month or two ago. I don't buy noisy toys, but my children have a few they have received from relatives and friends. Toys are everywhere and I hate it, but I don't really know hot to pare it down. UGH. It's also difficult because we have three children (2 boys that are seven years apart, and a girl) with very different interests in toys.

The girl who painted trees said...

Bear has a few Fisher Price Little People toys - the stable and a dollhouse and a bus and airplane - that I found dirt cheap on Craigslist. She loves playing with them and puts the people in the dollhouse and has them go to sleep, eat, go on the bus to the "playground"...etc.

We hardly buy her toys. All the "new" toys she has she got when she was one and now she is two. In my opinion though, she has too many dolls and stuffed animals. Her grandparents are always buying her more!

Autumn said...

We're having a toy purging this afternoon when the boys wake up and I can't wait! I don't think they have a *lot* of toys (at least compared to some of my friends' children), but they have too many for my taste and the disorder is starting to get on my nerves. There's just too many toys that aren't earning their keep. And Tommy doesn't really *need* 25 different types of cars.

I'm also going to try to think about toy storage/organization more creatively. For instance, art supplies are stored in the boys' room, but are used at the kitchen table. It would be smarter to store them closer to the kitchen. Also, the boys love to be in the kitchen with me when I'm making meals, so I'm going to think about ways & places to store some of their toys in the kitchen.

Eva said...

Okay I tried to comment on this yesterday but my computer froze! I am very guilty of having too many toys! I never buy new toys but if I see something at a garage sale or a second hand store that is practically new for 75% cheaper I can't pass it up! Plus I plan on opening a home daycare when we move into our own house but so far that hasn't happened and the toys are kinda making this apartment crowded. I also don't purchase noisy toys but relatives do! My daughter is totally spoiled by her relatives b/c she is the first grandchild on both sides. But my (and my daughter's) all time favourite toys are the ones that are handmade from recycled materials... because once they lose their novelty I can just throw it out with the recycling!

MaryAnne said...

We only recently created a play room in our house. I really love it, in part because it removes the toys from their (fairly small) bedroom, as well as the rest of the house. I don't see the need for a play room with an only child.

The only electronic toys my children have are the leapfrog leap pad, which we bought used at a yard sale. It's a book-reading tool, which was why I was okay with it. Otherwise we have a play kitchen, wooden blocks, lego duplos (including train tracks), pattern blocks, paint, crayons, a few dolls and stuffed animals, puzzles, and play dough. And a lot of books. My daughter sometimes talks about getting the barbies and my little pony dolls her friends have, but she also seems very content to play with the simple toys we own - and her friends seem to enjoy them as well when they come for play dates. We also make temporary toys out of cardboard boxes, bits of fabric, etc.

Keri said...

oh dear! i never understood the desire to put one before myself UNTIL i became a mom. i can't go into any store without the longing to buy her something! luckily (for me- not so much her) i am pretty thrifty so i don't buy as much as i would like too.. sometimes i just want to spoil her like crazy but i know thats not what is best for her (or our budget!)

we have a very small house- i did convert one of the few bedrooms we have into a playroom. i needed a place to store some of my teaching supplies- and our bedrooms are much too tiny for toys. i don't like to see a lot of clutter in the bedrooms! the rest of the house is a different story though!

as far as electronic toys- i have a few... right now my daughter is expanding her imaginative play and prefers toys like cars, trucks, and her dolls.

thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my blog! your blog is amazing!

growinginpeace said...

I did a toy purge a long time ago...and asked our extensive family members to cut back on what they gave the girls for birthdays and Christmas and focus more on books and clothes than toys. When I do select toys for them, I buy smaller sets, like a few playmobil smaller sets, but not the huge mega sets. Then I will make accessories to go with them, playmats out of felt and fabric, and some wood unfinished toys from a craft fair or some online wooden craft supply companies. So...while they have toys, it's more open-ended and more natural toys and a lot more thought goes into what they have so it's not so overwhelming. And I'm with you on the no battery operated toys. Well...with the exception of Hullabaloo. That's more of a game though, not a real toy.

Myztic said...

we've also got way too many toys that now the toyroom is starting to look cluttered :(