more than one way to raise a child

Can you ever have too many toys?

Can you ever have too many toys?

As you may have seen on Instagram, Kate and I were both intrigued to read about The Toy Box in CityKids magazine Spring edition. The Toy Box service offers a monthly toy subscription for children – they send you a box of age-appropriate toys each month, and at the end of each month you send it back.

It got us thinking – can you ever have too many toys? It won’t surprise you to learn that we didn’t agree…

Kate says – yes you can!

I’m sure my opinion on this might change as The Girl gets older, but for now, I think it’s definitely possible to have too many toys — and most babies do.

Prams dripping with Lamaze, car seats bedazzled with mirrors and bells — it really is quite unnecessary. The world is interesting enough and babies are trying to work it out, they don’t need to be constantly visually stimulated. If anything, I think it builds an expectation from a young age to be constantly stimulated, always with a toy in hand.

I’m convinced parents are ramming their babies with toys out of a sense of guilt — guilt about not providing them enough stimulation, or enough interesting things to do. But ‘being bored’ (or in a baby’s case, not being stimulated) is part of learning how to sit quietly, think and observe. It’s never too early to provide them with the opportunities to learn those skills!

The Girl living it up with potato skins
The Girl in her ‘Birthday box’

Also, having too many toys about decreases the chances of us observing what around us they could learn about. I really do believe that (nearly!) everything around us can be used as a toy. For example, I was peeling potatoes for fish pie (exciting life, I know!) and The Girl was pulling on my legs, so I gave her a big bowl of potato skins to play with on the floor. It entertained her for at least an hour!

 

Having too many toys can also reduce creativity in us! The Girl and I had loads of fun laughing as I pulled her in her DIY ‘birthday box’ earlier this week — a cardboard box with twine that I put her presents in and wrote ‘Happy Birthday’ on. When she’s older, I love the idea of making toys like this DIY zipper board by Kate at LaughingKidsLearn.com. Not only is it cheaper, you make memories in the process! (Although I will say, I do like making memories whilst shopping just the same!!!).

I realise this opinion might not be a popular one, and is more minimalist than anything, but it’s just what feels right for our family.

Em says – no way! 

The Boy has a lot of toys and I have no shame! I don’t believe that he could ever have too many toys so we don’t have any limits on what toys he is allowed, or rules like one in one out.

Firstly, and most importantly this is because he likes his toys. Whilst he has favourites (and who doesn’t!) he plays with most of his toys at least once a week and seems to enjoy working out how they work, making noises or just having a good rummage around the toy box. Having a nanny share based at our house, I feel that it’s important for the kids to have a variety of toys to play with.

Secondly, he is only little and doesn’t really understand the concepts of being “spoilt”. The Boy isn’t old enough to ask for toys so I don’t have any worries that he gets what he wants or has too much – maybe this will become a problem in the future at which point we will need to rethink.

Finally – why not buy him toys? I love seeing The Boy’s face when I buy him a fun new toy or when he works a new skill. I also love being able to host friends and their kids and be the fun house with all the toys

I will say that we do mainly buy toys second-hand from Facebook selling sites or cheaply from amazon and try to sell or pass on toys that he has outgrown. The Boy doesn’t have a Kardashian toy box full of brand new designer toys at all!

So I say if you have the space – go nuts! Buy your kids what you want to buy them – you can’t really have too many toys (until you get to the point where you can’t see the floor!)

NB: I reserve the right to change this opinion as The Boy gets older and can get more spoilt!



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