Children’s toys: Do you err on the side of less or more?
posted by: Amber Johnson
With the holidays upon us, I realize questioning the excessive amount of toys our children have is not the most timely topic.
Or maybe there is no better time to talk about it.
When I first became a mom, I purchased toys with the same vengeance as a bull set loose in a China shop. If it looked fun, I bought it. I had every imaginable contraption available–swings, bouncers, word games, dress-up clothes, a play kitchen with all the fixins and so much more.
My children’s interests have evolved over the past six years and I recently had a good, hard look around my cluttered house, particularly the toy chest in my family room–the source of most of our household messes.
I HAD HAD ENOUGH!
Now, don’t worry: I didn’t go all “Mommy Dearest” on my family but for the next several hours, I purged our entire home of toys. After analyzing what my kids truly played with (and with their help), we donated over half of their spoils, leaving only their most beloved toys: stuffed animals, Legos, blocks, books and cars. If it didn’t fit in their room (in an orderly fashion), it got junked.
Since making the purge, my kids have not complained about lack of toys. In fact, I have never once heard them utter, “I’m bored” but rather, when I try to drag them away, it’s always, “We want to keep playing.” The focus has become more about imaginative play and creating, while focusing less on “stuff.”
We recently had a dear friend’s son over for a playdate. This friend is a wonderful hands-on mother whose house, yard and garage are wall-to-wall with all of the coolest toys on the planet–a veritable kid’s emporium. He took a look at our ghost town and, like a typical kid, asked, “But what am I supposed to play with?”
I tried to convince him of all the wonderful things he could create but he wasn’t convinced. In the end, he was only appeased when I plopped him down in front of the television.
As far as he is concerned, my recent efforts to downsize are a big, boring fail.
But when I looked at my less cluttered house and content children, I can’t help but think maybe less really is more.
Is less really more when it comes to toys? Do you purge your house around the holidays to make room for new toys?