Have you ever looked in your closet at all your clothes and thought “I have nothing to wear?” likewise, have you ever heard your child say after being in the play room “I am bored, there is nothing to do?”. Children, much like adults get overwhelmed and overstimulated when given too many options.
About two years ago I got rid of about 75% of my children’s toys. I was tired of picking up a million shopkins and other toys that didn’t get played with all that much. And two years later, I am currently going through the toys again taking inventory – getting rid of duplicates, closed ended toys and the toys that do nothing for my children’s creativity or imagination.
It can be so easy to fall into the trap of our children needing more toys so they will stay busy during play time. But the truth is that research shows having less toys fosters more creativity and brain stimulation! Furthermore it also shows that having too many toys reduces creativity and negatively impacts a child’s ability to focus.
We walk into a playroom with toys all over the place and we are instantly overwhelmed, what makes us think that it doesn’t effect our children in the very same way? Children learn through play, so our play room is much more than just a room that our children play in. It is a learning environment. We want our children’s learning environment to be inviting and to promote creativity. With studies showing that clutter makes it more difficult to relax physically and mentally we must make sure that we are providing them with a space that is not filled with an immense amount of toys.
How I choose which toys to keep, and which toys to donate.
The photo above is a part of our playroom and shows about 75% of the toys we own. Across from this is a bench that holds the girl’s doll clothes, Lincoln logs and dolls, we also have a play kitchen and a doll house in our play room. We have here a balancing scale, play princesses, animals, magnetiles, a hammering toy for sam, cars, blocks and on either side of the table a basket for train tracks and a basket for balls.
We strive to have open ended, imagination provoking toys in our home that can be used in different ways. An open ended toy is a toy that can be used in many ways by children of different ages, and developmental stages. An example of an open ended toy that we have would be a set of blocks, a child can use for many different things. We try not to keep toys that do the imagining for you in our house, such as a race track with a car that spins around it, what does that do for our children’s brain or creativity? Not much.
While we do have a few toys that we rotate in and out, the toys that are in our play room are all – for the most part – out in open baskets and shelves for my children to easily see. This helps with decision making, creativity and clean up time too! The car at the bottom of a toy bucket rarely gets played with, why? Because the child can’t see it and has forgotten all about it!
Kids do not need a million toys, and in fact thrive with less. The less amount of toys children have, the more they will use their imagination and creativity!