Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I used to think my kids were deprived

I've spoken before about how I like a minimalistic approach to clothes and so on.

Well, I'm even worse about toys.

Or better. Depends how you feel.

People said to me before the babies were born, "Just wait. Your house will be overrun with toys" and I said, "Hmm, I don't think so".

So I put no toys on the baby shower list.

But we did get one toy for each baby from one of my friends (incidentally, the friend of the girl whose twin baby girl died). I checked the box the other day and it said 12 months + so those will make their appearance on their birthday.

I will confess, I did have to buy a playmat for them and had to go out a couple of times to get stuff like the odd rattle. Oh, and then later we got some bath toys as a late baby gift.

I actually love people meeting the babies in stages - we got gifts for them months and months after they were born. Kind of similar to how we were still getting wedding presents a year after we were married. Cool :)

I guess my approach is this - if you give kids too much stuff, they become overwhelmed (I know I get this way) and don't know what to play with. Also, I feel it hampers their creativity.

Another BIG plus is less clearing up because there's not much to put away!

I know that before they got a bit more mobile, Connor's favourite toy was a plastic box of spare clothes pegs. I had it in my hands and was walking to check on them, happened to shake it and he LOVED the sound.

Kendra's favourite toy is whatever Connor's playing with. And an old red box. The one in this pic.

I dared throw the box away once (thinking it belongs in the bin) and D said to me, "HOW can you throw K's favourite toy away?"

I laughed but then gave it back to her.

My friend, Natalie, said to me a couple of months ago, "D has ONE drawer full of toys and that INCLUDES his little teddies and that’s it. I will NOT be one of those mothers with a house full of children’s things”

I love it!

We have more than a drawer full (see pic above - it's slightly more than that now) but those loose things are all beautifully confined to one small storage box cube, about 30 cm X 30 cm X 30 cm. Actually a few things are "escaping" the confines of the storage cube so I need to declutter it this week.

The playmat is washed and in its plastic holder ready to pass onto whoever wants it - Eve?

I believe in using toys and passing them on. LOL

I used to feel bad when I saw other kids' hordes of stuff thinking maybe I'm depriving them and stunting them developmentally but now? Not at all!

Goodness! I think I may be finding my parenting groove :)

So what's your take on toys? The more the merrier, minimalist or somewhere in between?

P.S. I have since thrown the red box away but shhh, don't tell D!


  1. Maybe a few more toys than you, but yeah, we're in a compact house so there is no playroom at this stage and OUR lounge is not HER playroom. Besides... who needs toys...she'll chew on shoes given half a chance :p

    I think your kids are far from deprived :)

  2. Wow. Now I feel like we are toy whores. To be fair, many of the toys we have in the house have been random gifts. I hate to throw things away so we just keep them. And the toy explosion hit us hard around a year (right after their birthday and Christmas) when they could do a lot more with toys and got bored more easily.

    Also, we have three areas where they play, so we probably have way more toys than a normal house where the kids play in one area.

    Oh, and the toys I do buy, I buy used. Very few toys have been purchased new so I'm not breaking the bank. And then, after about 6 months, we rotate some out (I sell them at out twins club sale) and get some new interesting stuff to replace it.

    But I wish we had less toys. I am in need of a toy purge right now so maybe this post will inspire me to do it. :)

  3. Definitely - I find it gets worse/ better once they're properly mobile. Kendra is not even INTERESTED in any toy - there is a HOUSE to explore :)

  4. Nicole, be inspired :) And post the before and after pics (I seriously live for those - yes, I have issues)

  5. We have entirely too many toys- especially the girls. The babies haven't gotten overwhelming yet...

    But yeah- picture of the girls room at it's worst in this post to give you an idea-

  6. My take on toys? We have waaaaayyyyy too many! How do you keep well-meaning family members from going crazy though? They love to get things for the kids at birthdays and's really hard to stop them. Then I get the diatribe from Mother about how I should keep the toys so that my sister and every other might-get-pregnant person in my life might be able to use really adds up!

  7. I say "The more the merrier!", but I wish I could have your mentality because my house is a mess ALL. THE. TIME. The boys love all of their toys, but I think they are mainly for us... 1. The songs get REALLY old after a while and 2. I love watching them with new toys. :)

  8. I certainly pass on toys we are done with, but mine still has a lot! You see - two boys need two of the same /similar or the fights will never end. But I am giving you another year, and we will talk again. No wait, you still have control then - let's say when they are 4 - they become little hoarders.

    I find the BEST toys are the ones where everybody can play with - Mega Bloks, late Lego. And those you keep for the grandkids. Mine still play with my old Legos.

  9. I'd like to believe we are a minimalist house, in that I don't want nor do I buy toys. But then there is the family, the large extended family and all the hand me downs from cousins. I do have a plethora of rattles and chew toys so I keep them in mixed up and some stay in the diaper bag/downstairs/bedroom ect. I seriously need to clean house!

  10. We have far far too many toys. I hate to throw things away that could be used, but Freecycle is a wonderful community to ensure that what we no longer use gets used by someone else.

    I have one bin of toys that the girls haven't played with in a while to offload. Melly asked about one of the toys the other day, and Lucas and I are deciding what to do with that.

    One thing I really don't like to minimize is our book collection. I have a shelf of books to give away through, but everything else stays. The only ones of the girls' books to have given away were board books that they're much too old for and chose to give up, given to my nephew or my neighbour's baby.

  11. I think I take a more minimalist approach, too, for several reasons. For one, I avoid almost anything that requires batteries. I promise it's not because I'm cheap...I just don't want our girls to expect every single toy to "do" something. Our girls have lots of blocks and stacking cups and rings. I rotate them in and out every few days.

    The other primary reason we don't have a lot of things is that toys are expensive (although I promise again I'm not cheap - HA!), and you never know what a child is going to like. I have this anxiety that I'll spend $60 for something and they won't care a thing about it.

    For the holidays, I encouraged my family to give the girls books. We still got a few toys, but it wasn't an overload. I have seen other children be very overwhelmed, especially at the holidays, and I want to avoid that as much as possible. And for that reason, we'll most likely be celebrating the holidays on a different schedule than the cousins. I don't want my girls to feel "deprived" next to the $1000 worth of toys that the other children get.

  12. UGH! My kids have TONS of toys, however, I have a play "area" (my living room has a formal dinning room attached making my living room a HUGE room. I divide it in half with the couch and behind the couch is the play area. Who needs a formal dinning room with three kids? I need play space more!)

    Toys must stay in the play area. They are not allow upstairs at all and I will throw them away if they make there way upstairs. They are not allowed in the living room or kitchen either. So while the kids have TONS of toys (thanks grandparents, uncles and aunts, and well... myself...) they all have a place and stay pretty contained.

    I also go through them often and throw away broken pieces and toys with missing parts. Also, I box up toys that are getting "old" to my kids and leave them in the garage. When a rainy day hits and I hear "I'm bored" for the 100th time, I pull out the old toys and it is like Christmas to them!

  13. I found a great second hand toy shop in Blairgowrie - and you can also barter - give them your old toys for other ones. I find David gets so bored of his after a while. I laughed reading this- we are very much alike on the toy front! I hope I'm not a cruel Mom - but if I give David a toy, he usually goes straight for something I am holding or touching! That being said, the drawer is slowly bulging, all the soft toys are in a basket on the floor which really goes against my designaphobe nature. I want to get a wardrobe for him, not for the clothes but for the other things on the floor!


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