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Natural Toys

I have spent more time than I am willing to admit taking care of other people’s children.
During which time I learned a lot.
While there are many things I have learned that I want to avoid in my own parenting, a big one is to majorly limit the amount of toys I have in the house for The Tiny and future tots.
Am I cruel?  Mean?  I don’t think so.
From what I’ve seen, children are happier and more creative with less toys.  (Kinda goes against what the majority would assume, right?  I know, years of after school toy commercials will do that to us)
I think too many toys saps creativity, and fosters an almost ADD mentality of playing with one item for a moment, then the next.
More toys coming in and sitting on other toys, lost at the bottom of multiple bins.
My favorite activity was taking kids on nature walks, and banning toys from even
coming in the car with us.  If they complained, there would be no toys for
them when we got back, so that took care of that.  😉
(Most often, consequences would be from attitude)
We would embark on a trail, and look at all there was to see.  Fresh air, stretching our legs, nice smells.  We would always end up under a huge tree.  I would start playing imaginary games with the kids at first, then go sit and watch them and see how they did on their own.  The first few times, the kids didn’t have a long attention span and would ask to go home after a little while.  But the more we visited, the longer they would play, the more fun they had with each other and the surroundings, until
hours had past.
With what they saw around them, they would learn to take the ordinary(sticks, dried leaves, rocks) and make them into the extraordinary.  They made restaurants, homes, veterinary offices, a hamburger stand
with delicious 100% angus fall leaves.
So for my own tiny, I want to limit the toys.  But I know this is something that I am going to have to work hard to do.  The hubby and I have only bought him one toy (a cute wooden fire truck, which he is still too small for), but we have 2 big baskets full of toys.  
Birthdays, Christmas, hand-me-downs, gifts can all turn a normal home into a pile of plastic, overwhelming as opposed to entertaining.
The toys I have I want to be meaningful, maybe even educational.
Here are some I found perusing etsy.

Look at this healthy little snack, that I actually
wouldn’t mind The Tiny
chewing on from this etsy store  (Oh, and ps. I am all about 
family cooking together, and even teaching little boys to cook and be creative in the 
kitchen.  Reading and counting ingredients can transfer over to learning
that correlates in the classroom.  
True Example: “Ok, the naan calls for 3 cups of flour, so after each cup 
you add to the bowl, shout out which number so we can keep track!”
The shouting and dumping makes cooking uber fun for little ones)
Oh my gosh!  Look at this tiny caterpillar, from this shop.  It also comes with a cocoon that zips up and 
a butterfly!  Perfect for an at home science lesson,
or as probably the cutest accompaniment to one of my favorite
piece’s of children’s literature :
(Teaching moment:  After reading the story to your little one, ask
them to retell you the story using this toy.
It’s great for teaching comprehension, sequencing and vocabulary development.)

Well, there you have my feelings on toys.  Many of you may 
scoff with having such
thoughts and having only a tiny Tiny, but this is the goal and mentality I
wish for his tiny little childhood.
Do you have any great toys that are handmade, durable, educational or phenomenal that
you have to share?  I would LOVE to hear about them
and do a future post showing more.
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  • Kristie April 11, 2011, 10:39 pm

    Sounds lovely! I could definitely do with less toys. One of the best toys we have bought for our kids is Mega Bloks. They love building towers, knocking them down, and building them again. You can also teach them colors while using them!

  • The Tiny Team April 11, 2011, 11:07 pm

    Kristie! I love this idea! Mega blocks sound super versatile too. I would always make the kids take a plastic grocery bag and “fill it up” with toys they don’t want, and give it to the poor every few weeks or so to help with the clutter.
    Thanks for your advice, I’m going to check out Mega Blocks on amazon right now 😉

  • EvesLittleEarthlings April 12, 2011, 2:24 am

    As a former daycare provider, I totally agree with the less is more approach to toys you are advocating. Children will play for hours with small simple toys, using their imaginations and focusing without the distraction of a huge messy toybox that beckons at the first tinges of boredom.

  • Amanda & Joel April 12, 2011, 2:51 am

    Great post! Thanks for including our wooden veggies 🙂

  • Squiggly Rainbow May 2, 2011, 11:35 pm

    Agree and love it. I wish I knew this and had this wisdom when I had my first baby who is now 11. I was a young Mum (still am at 33 with three children). I have slowly undone the knitting of plastic fantastic, with Lego being the only plastic pretty much.

    A friend forwarded me this link – it is just fabulous…. I need a baby now to do this with…

    love Rach x

  • Squiggly Rainbow May 2, 2011, 11:38 pm
  • Sunni @Love Affair with my Brother July 13, 2011, 4:48 am

    I try desperately to steer clear of electronic toys. They are annoying and not that imaginative when a computer voice sings the ABC’s to you!!

    A friend of mine (and starting this Christmas, me too!) gives her children 4 presents.

    “Something they want, something they need,
    Something to wear and something to read.”

    Isn’t that the coolest?? She gives thoughtful gifts to her kids instead of buying to even out the $ totals!!
    Last year, my girls got gobs of presents, but we also gave handmade gifts. We invested a lot of time and effort into it, and it is our newest tradition!

  • Shawn September 13, 2011, 8:47 am

    Since toddlers are all about me-me-me playing, playing with the other children can be tricky. A few group games can make things go more smoothly.

    toy stores online

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