If recently I was talking to you about why it was important to play with quality materials , understood as those that offer a quality experience (imagine, create, learn …) today I want to talk to you about another issue that seems important to me and that is the quantity of toys.
Two things usually happen when children move around cluttered climates:
- One is that they get overwhelmed and go from toy to toy without focusing much on anything.
- Or they play with what attracts them the most and the rest is gathering dust for weeks or months on the shelf.
That is why seeking environments that are not very overloaded with materials is an excellent idea, it invites them to play more calmly and focused on the interests they have at that time.
But I admit that limiting toys is not an easy task, especially after Christmas, hehe. At home, for example, we always try to be very restrained with gifts, we prefer to distribute them throughout the year, but still … after the holidays and the birthday our house is full: gifts arrive from all sides and a good day you take a good look at the dining room and say … but how crowded all this is!
So today I want to share with you some ideas that help us to avoid having a “playful overbooking” and at the same time explain what we do with the toys that we put aside (some temporarily and others permanently).
6 IDEAS TO AVOID ACCUMULATION OF TOYS
Less toys = more imagination : children don’t have to have absolutely everything to play with. What they do not have within reach … they will imagine. Just today Terrícola surprised me using the hose that comes out of a gas station (toy) as if it were a vacuum cleaner for the doll’s house, hehe. When there is an absence of material resources (toys) … mental resources (imagination) are activated .
Choosing quality and not quantity : I spoke to you about this precisely last week , but I reiterate that a quality toy is one that offers a wealth of experiences (that allows you to imagine, create, learn …), beyond its price or brand.
Regularly review the available toys : many of the toys that the little ones have within their reach do not touch them for weeks … It is then when it is convenient to review what they do not play with to keep it and leave only what they do play with.
After a while you can do the reverse process. Check what’s in the closet and take it out again. Rotating materials is magic. Suddenly something forgotten in the back of the closet … returns to be the protagonist of the game for hours or days.
Include the little ones in the decisions : I mean include them in the decisions of what to remove and store and what stays in their play area. I don’t know about you … but mine has a radar to detect what is missing from the shelves … So it is much better to agree on those decisions. It is a way of helping them also to take responsibility for their materials, to begin to decide some things (for them important, of course) and to be taken into account.
Even so, I admit that it is not easy. Terrícola takes a liking to everything and it costs a lot to keep things, move them … But we try and we talk about it, it is learning for him too.
When do the toys come home? This is a question that I throw and leave in the air because it is absolutely free for every family. But I find it interesting to keep it in mind so that the little ones also know what to expect.
Of course, surprising children on the day they least expect it with a gift is fantastic … but at least in our house we try to ensure that every day we go out to buy there is no new toy, nor every time we see something interesting in it. shop window, etc.
Reach agreements with the family . Many times grandparents or relatives out of sheer illusion and happiness give something away every time they see our children. The truth is that you have to value it as a precious gesture, they love them and want to make them happy. But generating a dialogue of understanding about our vision can bring many benefits:
- Preventing children from getting used to the fact that every time they see certain people they receive something and the day that they do not give them anything is a drama.
- That the materials they receive are in line with what we want to offer children
- Keep them away from constant consumerism (buy, buy; receive, receive …)
- Fewer toys but of higher quality. An idea that I always say when someone asks me what to do when grandparents give very poor quality toys non-stop … is that the money they would often spend on a toy they put in a piggy bank and when it is full they can buy a good toy.
I know this is one of those things that is easy to say and hard to do. It is difficult for me to position myself in a forceful way in these situations, but I am also learning, hehe.
And now, I will tell you how we do the rotation of toys at home, in case it helps. A couple of cool boxes can go well for you.
1 / The toys they use repeatedly stay where they are (okay, if they are out of place, we order them, hee).
2 / In one of the boxes we put the toys that we know they like or that they will use again but that at that moment have not been used for some time. We keep those toys to periodically make a toy movement at home. When he does not use some of them again, we remove them and try to put back materials that we had removed.
Surely this is something that many families do and we do not stop hallucinating when we see how a toy that they have not seen in time can generate interest again. If the toy is not connected to the person, it will surely soon be forgotten again, but if yes … it will fascinate him again (this happens to me with kinetic sand very often … after days of exploiting it, he stops using it. remembering her … I go back to sucking sand again for several days, hahaha).
3 / Toys empty of meaning, that do not provide anything positive, we remove them.
4 / Toys that are already too small for them, that are no longer suitable for their age … we keep them if they have sentimental value or were very liked.
AND WHAT TO DO WITH THE TOYS WE NO LONGER WANT AT HOME?
First of all I would like to say that, except for those toys that parents consider inappropriate, it is best to have the opinion of the little ones when it comes to getting rid of them. At the end of the day, they are their great treasures and I do not think it appropriate to pressure them to give them, much less before parties or birthday parties, because they may have in mind that they have to give in order to receive.
You also have to understand that the ability to detach from your own toys depends on their age and what they see us doing ourselves. Do we mothers and fathers let go of the things that we no longer use? And what do we do with those things?
They are several ideas that I leave to the air. Sure there is no correct answer in this matter, but I wanted to share this reflection with you.
With the rest of the toys, those with which he never plays, nor wants and those that we consider inappropriate… what do we do at home?
Well, they are really lousy, we throw them away. It hurts me to give or donate toys to other children that do not seem appropriate or in which I do not believe.
With the rest … you can do many other things:
- Find collection points to donate
- Find toy exchange points or generate them yourself with other friends and family
- Get them to pediatric hospitals. By the way, Marta from Pequefelicidad is collecting books for this purpose, to donate them to hospitals with children suffering from cancer, so if you want to join her initiative, I encourage you to read here
- Sell them second hand
With this article I am not going to assess whether each child should have many or few toys, that is already the decision of each family. The only thing I want to emphasize is that limiting the number of toys available, at any given time, is an excellent idea to create a good play environment. At the end of the day, with everything that you withdraw, they are not playing.