play.

January 9, 2013





Our view on play has changed and morphed over the past few years. In the beginning of this parenting gig, we had so many things given to us- a lot that beeped and buzzed, flashed and shouted. They were cute and colourful. Then I started reading about 'stimulating' children, 'spirited' children, 'high-needs' babies and started to piece together a plan on changing the environment we were raising Piper in.

Since this, we are more conscious of the toys we buy. Well made, mostly natural and not too many beeps attached. I keep learning about environmental stimulus and the effects on child development. For our family {I say this as I by no means think Fisher Price doesn't have a place for some} it has helped us to stop buying as much stuff and when we do, we choose well made items constructed with love and care.

Things have purpose and meaning. Piper can play independently much more than ever before. These toys are helping her imagination- they don't make the sounds/movement, she does.

Another bonus has been the slow clean out of items, donated to op shops for those that love beeps in their homes. Win, win. The more the plastic fantastic has left, the calmer we all feel. We still have a fairly good collection of lego, those are precious.

The occasional Dora doll, plastic car, etc. is given to Piper and does sneak in, but often they are played with and put away for desperate days where a distraction may be necessary. But we could definitely live without them and they are spending 99% of the time in the top of her closet.

Some reading on the Steiner Waldorf education system is a great start for explaining why these toys are helpful for little people.  The general idea:: natural objects give children a beautiful, true image of the world. They are warmer, with texture and often unique from one another. They feel, look real allowing for play that mimics what big people around children are doing. The ultimate goal of all children is role-playing being a big child!

Do you have a 'toy type' house or are you more 'anything goes'?

♡ ashley

11 comments:

  1. Loved this post, Ashley. I'm not really sure what we are - I definitely prefer natural, wooden toys as well but I haven't been able to control what friends and family give the boys for birthdays, etc. I have slowly been 'archiving' all the sound-generating plastic toys and as we have three (soon-to-be four) boys, we can't really get away from little plastic cars. (Especially as Thomas comes in plastic...LOL!)
    Ronnie xo

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  2. You know, I've never really considered a direct link between toys that go beep, and kids being able to play on their own .... but, of course that makes sense, and lo and behold, we've never really had many toys that go beep and O is an absolute master at playing by herself. Grow that little imagination, kids! It's the most beautiful thing to watch, isn't it. I could listen to O's games for just about ever. Kellie xx

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  3. My older two had toys that go beep and they still played imaginatively, but I did have them fooled for a long time into believing that once the batteries died they couldn't be replaced (mean mum I know). With Eve I prefer handmade or wooden toys and have offloaded a lot of plastic to the opshop except Lego because it is imagination and coordination gold.

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  4. We are exactly the same. Fewer toys for us equals better quality, longer, more concentrated and imaginative play. We are in a continual donate/ Regift cycle! By our third we are so much better at it.

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  5. We are the same as well. It was my intention from the beginning to have few plastic made-in-China toys, but I've read more since then and believe in the theory one hundred percent. High quality, natural toys and few of them. It's a continuous "job" of weeding out the garbage that sneaks in from birthday parties, hand-me-downs and whatnot. (I prefer making playdough as a party favor as it inspires imagination and creativity, plus can go in the compost pile when it dries up or starts to mold.) Most of our large plastic stuff was for the itty bitty stage and mostly so I could make dinner and take a shower. We do have noisy toys, but they are real instruments--a maraca, ukelele and djembe drum : )

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  6. Such lovely peaceful, creative photos - I feel calmer just looking at them! I had great intention before I had kids, and managed well for the first year (mainly because we lived overseas!) but on our return the plastic has become overwhelming. For awhile now I've had a policy of leaving noisy, flashy toys with the grandparents who gifted them, and this year I'm hoping to do a big clean out so the kids can focus on a few, simple toys. Thank you for an inspiring post!

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  7. little scout doesn't even get a baby mobile, that is how minimal i have become. i will get him one of those wooden rainbows though, there is just something about them. you would like the book simplicity parenting. x

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  8. I love the space you've created for play, it's so peaceful and calm with all of those natural materials. I think if my girls were little again I would choose more toys like that, in saying that we didn't have many toys with batteries at all but we did have plastic toys. These days we don't play with toys much but they do a lot of craft so I buy the Steiner pencils and crayons for them which they love using. xx

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  9. I couldn't agree more. Open-ended toys, like a basket full of wooden blocks, have endless possibilities. I like calm more than ever now with two boys, so if anything does beep or flash I simply give it away. There's already so much noise in the world out there and it makes perfect sense to me to take some of it out from their worlds at home. My eldest son's favourite thing to play with? His (enormous) collection of shells. He sorts them in different ways all the time. x

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  10. I agree with your 'toy philosophy' wholeheartedly. I avoid anything with batteries and flashing lights as much as I can and while it's hard when things are given as gifts, I also don't believe in keeping toys around that don't suit us. Have you read Simplicity Parenting... if not I'm sure you'd love it :)

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  11. We're definitely wooden, handmade toy type people - largely for my own sanity I have to admit. Things that beep and glad drive me a little nuts! And I do believe it's paying off - Phiney plays so well on her own and has the most wonderful imagination already. It's amazing to watch. I adore that rainbow btw :) xx

    Ps. Hope that little one is making it's way to you - can't wait to hear it's here safe and sound. Much love to you all xxx

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