Too Many Toys – How to Simplify

Toys, toys, toys!  Toys for bath time, toys that talk, toys that sing, toys that glow in the dark, toys that dance . . . the list goes on and on.  In our society our kids are bombarded with toys.  Often children even have a whole room devoted to toys. Yet, as my husband and I strive to live a simpler life we can’t help but wonder – are all those toys really necessary?  Are all those toys helpful?  Can having too many toys hinder a child’s ability to learn to live a life of giving and sacrifice? The questions don’t stop pouring out.

Joshua Becker wrote an excellent post, Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids, on his blog, Becoming Minimalist. You should check out the blog for yourself, but here are his reasons in bullet form:

  • Kids learn to be more creative.
  • Kids develop longer attention spans.
  • Kids establish better social skills.
  • Kids learn to take better care of things.
  • Kids develop a greater love for reading, writing and art.
  • Kids become more resourceful.
  • Kids argue less with each other.
  • Kids learn perseverance.
  • Kids become less selfish.
  • Kids experience more of nature.
  • Kids learn to find satisfaction outside the toy store.
  • Kids live in a cleaner, tidier home.

With Samuel’s birthday coming up, I knew it was time to do the first toy sort and purge.  We kept anything we might need for future children (i.e. swing, tummy time gym, etc.).  We donated anything we don’t want Samuel to play with (think annoying, loud, flashy) or that Samuel isn’t interested in. anymore. We did set aside a few small toys (like rattles) that Samuel doesn’t like any more, but that a future child might enjoy. Last, we threw away any toys that needed the boot (think moldy bath toys – ewwww!).  Then, I bought a big box to act as a toy store for Samuel (see video below).  For now, Arlen and I have decided that Samuel’s toys will be limited to what you see in the video.  When he gets his own room, we hope to give him one bookshelf and one other toy storage device to house all his toys and books.  He will be able to swap toys out a maximum of once a month (on the 28th, ’cause that’s when his birthday is).  When his toy store is overflowing and his space in his room is maxed out, time to sell, donate or toss some  toys. (I even hope to set a date before birthdays and Christmas to pre-emptively sort through toys.)

Because we are homeschooling and I believe strongly in learning by play there will probably always be a shelf in the living room (or office or homeschool room) with educational toys, but those won’t count the same as each child’s individual, personal toys.

What do you think? Still too many toys? How many toys is too many?  How many is too few? How do you keep toys in your house to a minimum? Does homeschool blur the lines a bit? If you have fewer toys, which ones are quality, must have toys?

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6 responses to “Too Many Toys – How to Simplify

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