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In an effort to cut down on the clutter and stress in my life I have been releasing myself of unnecessary things. This includes clothes, junk, and toys. I found that my kids weren’t playing with 90% of the toys that they had. Yet, they would constantly pull them out and leave them scattered about the house. That is when I made a conscious effort to only buy toys the met three criteria 1.) Needs to fit all age ranges (hey, I have three kids) 2.) Aids in development 3.) Sparks their imagination (like STEM learning). I did allow my kids 1-2 toys that weren’t in this category.
Since going by the minimalist toy model, my life is a lot easier. I don’t find myself nagging them about cleaning up. And everything fits in one tiny box!
Why We No Longer Buy Toys
Last year I had a blog where I wrote about giving your child a rich life on a budget. I feel like a child doesn’t need a lot of toys or gadgets to have a fulfilled childhood. I was one of those children who had tons of toys so I would know! However, all of the best memories of my childhood were the moments I spent with my parents. So when I had Honey Bee I made a vow to give my children experiences and not material things.
Honey Bee only had 2-3 toys her first 3 years of life. I purchased a few toys second hand and she had a few toys that were gifted to her. But she had no interest in them. Over time we started accumulating more toys and things started to get out of control. And after I had my son, I must admit I got a little caught up in wanting to buy toys.
After seeing that they didn’t really play with their toys for long, I started slowly getting rid of them.
How To Determine Which Toys Are Best
In order to see if a toy is worthy of purchase, I first observe my child and their interest. Bumble Bee (my son) loves building things and taking them apart. Therefore, I make sure to buy him toys that fit his interest.
My daughter Honey Bee loves art, so I buy her items that help nurture this interest. I also make sure they are good quality toys so that they will last through each child.
The Parenting Junky gives an amazing list of great minimalist toys if you need any ideas.
How Many Toys?
I let each child have 2-3 personal toys then they share 2-3 toys. That keeps down on fuss and clutter, yet each child has a toy that is special for them. Check out Nourishing Minimalism to see how many minimalist toys are ideal.
The Importance of Books
We are big on books in our home. What I love about books is that you can find them cheap at second-hand shops. Most of our books are used and in good condition. Reading to your children can set the foundation for a very bright future. I won’t go into all of the benefits of reading to your child, but it is very important to do.
What About Experiences?
This is my favorite part. I love giving my children different experiences. The best part is experiences can be given as birthday gifts, free, fun, simple, and memorable. I choose their experiences depending on the time of year, our budget, and their interest at the time.
One experience that recently learned about is Snapology. Snapology is the premier partner for STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, math, and arts). They offer a variety of programs, for all age ranges. Snapology is right up my alley because not only is it fun, it also nurtures children in their development. They have a franchise in Chicago and other locations so make sure to check out their site to see if there is one near you.
What Snapology Offers
Snapology offers a variety of programs
Parent’s Night Out
Video Game Design
The Benefits Of STEAM Learning
It helps remove idea inhibition (there’s no wrong answer in art!).
It focuses on the process which helps drive innovation.
It teaches the power of observation, of people and your surroundings.
It helps hone spatial awareness and mathematical concepts like geometry.