I’ve never been one for plastic beeping or flashing things. It’s just not my style. But as it turns out, I’m pretty good at finding toys I do like. Wooden things, vintage things, things that are beautiful to look at and will last a long time. Yes, kids toys are really fun to find and buy.
But I found that despite my selectiveness about what toys I let into our home, there came a day when the kids bedroom, the living room, the kitchen, the stairwell…ok pretty much everywhere, was littered with toys.
It was messy, frustrating to keep tidy, and though the toys were all lovely and intended to bring joy, they just weren’t.
Less toys means more imagination…
Despite what advertisers will tell you, I believe that the imaginations blooms best when it’s a necessity! I have noticed that my kids play very creatively about a broad range of topics when they are basing their play on their imaginations!
On the other hand, when they are playing with toys, they usually are playing only the one thing that the toy is intended for.
A toy teapot can only be a teapot, a toy hammer is only a hammer, a rocket can only be a rocket. But a stick in the hand of a child with an imagination can be nearly anything, and they’re are every where! It’s a jack pot ‘round here for an kid that has a well exercised imagination.
Less toys means more activity…
I’ll be the first to say that there are definitely times for quiet play. But I have noticed that one benefit of having fewer toys is that my kids are up and about much more than when we had more toys.
They and the move, run, build, explore and experiment far more. They work up appetites and go to sleep at bedtime, and they often have clearer heads for their schoolwork when they have expelled some energy. I definitely partially credit our minimal toys to this wonderful outcome!
Contentedness and Comparison
Yes, my kids know that they have far fewer toys than many of their friends. They also know that they can pick up their room in one minute flat (something they are required to do before dinner every day).
I’m very open about why I think living simply and minimally is the best way for our family, and my kids are on board. They understand that their enjoyment of life and their happiness are not tied to owning the things they want.
Of course, they are not perfect at this logic all the time, but it’s really exciting to me that they are beginning to understand the “less is more” way of life that I’ve embraced.
Another great benefit of being content with few toys is that a new toy can be appreciated so much more. When my kids each got a toy for Christmas last year, they were over the moon excited. They did not feel deprived at all. Since toy gifts are so rare, getting one at any time of the year seems like Christmas!
A habit of tidiness
Tidiness is important for so many reasons, but one thing I want my kids to experience is the the success of finishing a job. I remember the feeling of utter defeat I had when I had to clean my room as a kid. It was a completely overwhelming and impossible job.
When I ask them to tidy up their room and put their toys away, I want them to immediately think “No problem”, and experience the empowerment that comes with that success!
They may not realize it now, but this is a huge life lesson, and I hope it begins to blossom in them as a spirit of confidence.
It may seem a little funny to be talking about building confidence by having minimal toys, but my kids will one day grow up and need to do hard things, and this is just one little way in which I am preparing them to getting used to having a “can do” attitude, rather than feeing defeated before the even begin.
Less toys means more time for reading!
You probably already know of my love to Children’s literature, but the reason we are able to enjoy such a large quantity of books is because we often choose to buy books rather than toys.
Though active play is super important, quiet time is also an element of our day and books are almost always the best way for us to settle down.
My two older kids are avid readers, and I believe much of this is because they have turned to reading rather than toys on so many occasions, it’s become a habit for them.
Peaceful house means happy mom means happy kids
I don’t think that all toys are bad. In fact, I even create handmade toys for my kids and they do love them. We zoom cars and have puppet shows and put our baby dolls to bed, and we enjoy these parts of childhood immensely. But we have simply edited out the bulk of the toys, and it makes the toys we do have all the more well loved.
Cluttery living gives me stress. Not every one is the same in this respect, some people are not bothered by a messy house.
But I am, and I’m ready to admit to myself that I am a better mother when my house is tidy. And since I don’t want to spend hours every week picking up stuff, a simple and minimal approach to toys is only natural.
As a result, my kids have a happier mom, and thus a better life. It’s that simple. I want to give my children the best version of myself, and if reducing my daily stress by having a simple and minimal toy collection contributes to that goal, you better believe I’m going to do it!
Where are you at with the toys situation? How do you feel that toys impact your family life, either positively or negatively. What are changes you’ve made or changes you want to make! Don’t be shy! Let’s encourage each other by sharing our own experiences and thoughts.