4 Reasons to Minimize the Toys

4 Reasons to Minimize the Toys

Guest Author: Alexandra Blackmon

Have ya’ll ever been in the toy aisle at a Target or Walmart? Or stepped foot into a Toys R Us? It’s incredibly overwhelming. There are lights and sounds and buttons and colors and so. many. options.

My husband and I go back and forth about whether our son has too many toys or not enough toys. We often get caught up into thinking he needs more toys that are more age appropriate as we deem his current toys “too babyish”. But then we look around our house and think there is no way that child needs more toys!

At one point we started to feel like all we were doing was picking up toys and finding places to put more toys. All the while our son didn’t even seem interested in them! He would just wander around aimlessly, and I began to worry that his toys just weren’t age appropriate.

Then my husband read an article about how it can be beneficial for children to actually have fewer toys! We ended up taking away half of our son’s toys and putting them in a closet, and it had a tremendous impact on him!Minimize the Toys

So without further ado, I give you:

Four Reasons to Cut Back on the Toys

  1. Fosters creativity. The fewer toys a kid has, the more creative he or she has to be in finding ways to play. We have a wooden block set for Oliver and he used to stack a few here and there, but overall he never played with it that much. After taking away half of his toys, however, he now uses those blocks to build really cool tracks and ramps for his cars, and they get so much more use! Children are imaginative little humans- they will come up with new and different ways to play with what they already have!
  2. Creates problem solving skills. I used to worry incessantly that Oliver was bored. We had a house full of toys and he would just wander around not playing with any of them, and I was just so worried he was bored out of his mind. After talking with my husband and some other parents, though, I realized that boredom isn’t a bad thing! I don’t want to raise a child that has to be constantly entertained. I want him to be able to come up with ways to entertain himself. Boredom fosters problem solving skills- and trust me, they won’t stay bored long!
  3. Encourages better concentration. Kids can’t focus when there is too much going on. If they have 50 toys, they won’t play with one for any extended period of time because they will feel the need to play with all 50 toys to some (limited) extent. We noticed this with Oliver- he had about a 5 second attention span to any singular toy or activity. Now that we’ve lessened his toys, however, his attention span is rapidly expanding- the kid will now spend 30 straight minutes playing with just his dinosaurs! Since he doesn’t have so many toys, he’s able to take his time and focus more on one specific activity.
  4. Cost saving. Y’all, my son’s favorite toys are a $20 basketball hoop and $1 dinosaurs we bought for him at Walmart. He has toys that cost upwards of $40 that are sitting around, unused because he just has no interest. Not only is it shown to be beneficial for children to have fewer toys, it’s beneficial for the parents’ wallet, as well!

Minimize the Toys

Related  8 Blogs to Inspire Minimalism in Motherhood

Like most parents, I think, I can’t resist spoiling my son every once in a while, and I’m sure my daughter too, once she’s old enough! But my husband and I have definitely agreed that we stay simple on birthdays and holidays. We also found cycling through his toys- we put some of them away, and when we bring them out again in a few months it’s like Christmas all over for him!

Toys can provide so much educational value these days, and we don’t want to deprive our son, but we do want him to stay creative and be able to self-entertain! And as an added perk, since we decided to stay minimal with our children’s toys, those aisles in the stores no longer seem quite as overwhelming! If your child seems like they’re not really interested in the toys they have, try taking some away and bringing them back out in a month or two instead of buying new toys -they will love it!

 

Author Bio

Alexandra Blackmon is a motherhood/lifestyle blogger at These Mama Moments. She strives to authentically share her motherhood journey in a real way. Connect with her on Instagram to see snippets of her motherhood and blogging journey!

The benefits of fewer toys. Toy Minimalism.

The benefits of fewer toys. Toy Minimalism.

 



57 thoughts on “4 Reasons to Minimize the Toys”

  • I think it would be harsh to minimize on toys. But then you raised some good points (like cutting back on cost) since some toys are freakishly expensive. Good job on this one.

    • I agree with the guest author that fewer toys promote more creativity. I have a 16-month-old and she is much more “engaged” with her toys when there are only a few to choose from. I don’t feel like I’m depriving her at all. I’ve also found the best toys aren’t “toys”- they are bowls from the kitchen, empty milk jugs, and anything in my house that makes noise when you shake it 🙂 It’s not that she has zero toys- I’m just very intentional with the ones I buy now! I also appreciate you raising your issue and giving a discussion topic!

  • This gave me something to really think about, I have grandchildren now and even though I love spoiling them I will watch how many toys I buy and pass this on to my daughter.

    • My daughter’s grandmother does all the spoiling too! 🙂 It would be a great conversation to have with your daughter to see how she feels about toys, but I’m sure she appreciates the gifts too.

  • Those are excellent ideas on why it is important to cut back on toys. In this case, less is more. Kids may get most out of the their toys when they have a limited number of toys. Great post!

    • Yes, I agree. My daughter plays and stays engages with her toys so much longer when there are fewer to choose from (and the less “techy” they are- the simpler the better). It seems counter-intuitive but its what has worked in our house!

  • I really agree with this. We try and keep only a few toys out at once for our youngest (almost 2) to play with and he loves it. I rotate his toys out of the basement here and there. Our oldest has accrued many toys over his almost 10 years of life so with him we have a rule that he should only play with one or two types of toys at one time. This not only helps him keep interest longer but it also makes it so much easier for him to clean up his room/toys.

    The Momnipresent Mother
    at
    http://www.themomnipresentmother.com

  • I love this. When I was a toddler, my mom told me she tried to buy me toys and dolls, but all I wanted to play with was pots and pans. It’s crazy how we pour money into toys and kids are entertained by the simplest things and use their imagination with just regular ol’ household items!

    • Yes! We keep a box of plastic recyclables under the cabinet to collect in each week. She loves to grab a milk carton or some other container and play with it!

  • I was nodding my head while reading this entire post. I don’t for one second think we’re depriving our kiddos in any way. Beyond the cost savings it truly does encourage our kiddos to be more creative with what they do have!

    • Agree 100%. Just yesterday my daughter was in the living room with her little table, her favorite stuffed animal, a ball, and a book and she entertained herself for an hour. It really makes me think about my own life and what I have “too much” of!

  • I like this. We cycle toys and the kids seem to do well with that, they will have some favorites for a few weeks. When they are getting bored with those, we will cycle in some other ones. It makes it seem like they are playing with something new, while cutting down on clutter and not actually getting new ones.

    • We do toy rotation too. I think my daughter forgets about toys because she is always so excited when the new week comes around and she “remembers” a toy in the new rotation. It’s like Christmas!

  • Thank you for a very interesting article. It’s true, we need and love the great educational toys available, but sometimes children shoukd have nothing to do and maybe even be a little bored in order to become creative, use their resources, thinking ability and initiative to entertain themselves with.

    • Yes, and so many toys aren’t “educational”- they are just junk! You are right, my daughter is so much more creative when she has fewer toys!

  • I love how you outlined the reasons why we should simplify the toys in our children’s lives. I have a hard time getting my family to understand that we don’t need so many toys. Our playroom looks like a toy store 🙁 I always try to convince our families to provide time with our children or experiences in place of toys.

  • Love these tips! I have been working on weeding out toys! They really do play with the same rotation of things. And I love sparking creativity in them!

    • I’ve noticed my daughter playing with the same few things too. Its difficult to get started on the purging, but its so nice afterwards!

    • I agree, too many toys is too many decisions for kids! Its the same for adults when we have too many things to choose from (like the clothes in our closets).

    • I put ALL the toys in one space and it was overwhelming to me how many we ownded. It was so much easier to purge when I saw how many toys were in the house!

  • Love this! I’ve been to houses that literally make me sick because they’re so stuffed with toys. I completely agree that limiting our children’s toys helps encourage more play. I also think it makes them appreciate what they have.

    • I was inspired to keep the toys at a minimum by my mom friends who posted pictures of their child’s room on Facebook. You could not see the floor and the mom’s were so overwhelmed by the mess. I swore that would never be me!

  • I love these suggestions. I try my best to keep a handle on the toy situation, and minimize as much as we can. I completely agree that it fosters creativity. We like to focus on art play, and imaginative play as much as possible!

    • My daughter LOVES to color. She is only 16 months old so I haven’t ventured into many craft play ideas, but I’m looking forward to art play more in the future!

  • There is so much great advice here. Honestly, our kids have WAY too many toys. So many, that I am constantly giving them away to friends and neighbors with younger children. My kids get bored with 90% of the toys that we own within just a few minutes. I would love to reduce their toy collections by 50%. Definitely something to think about! Great post!

    • Thank you! Alexandra had some great suggestions! We are getting ready for Baby #2 and I just purged our “6 months and under” toys that we kept. It was embarrassing how many toys we had for our first (and kept!). I’m working to keep the toys limited for my 16 month old so I won’t feel the same way again!

  • Such a great read. My son plays so much better when there are fewer toys around. I noticed that when we did toy clean up when he had a lot of toys there were lots of broken things. He did a much better job taking care of his toys when he had fewer toys.

    • That’s a great point! My daughter is only 16 months, so we are still working on the concept of taking care of things, but that is something to consider in the near future.

  • Such great post! I agree. Less toys – more creativity. Would it be possible for you to come over and actually help me get rid of some of this junk 😉 haha

  • I love #1 and 2…never really thought about it less being more in terms of creativity. But it totally makes sense. Great post!

  • I so agree with these reasons – especially the first one. My kids have now created a game called the “Imaginary Game.” They play with absolutely no toys – everything is imaginary. They have all kinds of fun pretending with nothing at all. It is kind of funny. And it makes zero mess! Love it!

    • I always try to remember that there is a child who will LOVE the toys my daughter isn’t a fan of. We had a garage sale in the spring and sold some toys then. It was nice seeing kids so excited for toys and knowing the toys would bring so much more joy than they did at our house.

  • I love this! This teaches kids to just be happy with what they already have. Furthermore, creativity is awesome! I’m all for anything that fosters more creativity in children.

    • Creativity is the biggest pro I’ve seen since minimizing the toys. I got rid of any toy that does the “playing” for you (many of the electronic ones) and kept building blocks, stacking cups, puzzles, cars, etc.

  • I could not agree more with this whole post! Once I had my twins I minimized all of the toys and we haven’t gone back. It is SO freeing, not to mention, makes them use those little brains of theirs more. 🙂 And yes the money saved is a penny earned. Love this! Thank you for sharing!

    • Yes, aside from all the pro’s the child takes away from minimal toys, its great for moms too. Less clutter, less mess, and I can focus on other things that are more important!

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