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Anyone ever had a child who would not play with toys?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have a preschool child who doesn't really play by themselves--like with toys and such? I dunno . . . dd is very bright and very advanced for her age (she is quite gifted actually), so I don't know if that plays into this, but she will not play while I do housework. We don't own a TV so usually she just looks at books or sings or jumps back and forth on the sofas or something while I cook/clean or whatever. Sometimes she wants to help me, sometimes not, but I try to always leave that option open. She has a friend who is the same age, and this child totally lives in fantasy--does figurine play with everything, builds with blocks, loves playdough--all the typical preschool stuff. But not my dd. If I set aside time for us to do play together she'll do some pretend (not figurine play--she's never done that--but she'll pretend she's a fairy or a bird or something), but she'll only do it if I do it with her. And blocks or playdough? Only with me. We are Waldorf-inspired so we have lots of unstructured toys. We have no TV. We read lots of great literature. Why won't my child PLAY? We don't do any outside activities so she has tons of "down" time for play, so lack of time isn't an issue. I will say she is an only child and doesn't really like playing with other kids (much at all--she much prefers adults). This is really bugging me because play is so hyped up in Waldorf ideology. I don't know what I'm doing wrong! Should I worry about this? I feel like I carry so much guilt around about this--like I'm failing her or something.
post #2 of 17
Some children are not as imaginative as other. Or they are just not in ways that is apparent for their age.

My oldest daughter "lacked' a play imagination. She is/was very realistic. She needed real props. We did tea parties and pretended to be different people and places. But for her to imagine and pretend she needed tea, tea cups, and pot.

Now she pretends with out the props. But it was something that had to be gently encouraged so she would explore that side of her.
post #3 of 17
yup, my oldest son. He played with people, not toys. He wasn't particularly advanced, didn't like TV much, wasn't interested in learning to count or read - but he LOVED to talk to people. Made up great stories, had explanations for everything, loved to help me cook in the kitchen, etc.
post #4 of 17
My son is a preschooler and doesn't play with toys much at all.

He's not gifted.
post #5 of 17
My middle dd is like this. She is 9 & will sometimes play with dolls in a typical fashion but prefers to not do it. She loves crafts & will do that type of stuff.
post #6 of 17
Singing, reading and jumping around *are* playing!

DS1 doesn't really play with toys. He makes 'machines' or cooks or something, with whatever is around. I listen to him playing and he'll be talking away about these little stories that are in his head but he doesn't play with blocks or whatever unless I do it with him.

Some people like crafts, some people like hiking, some people like sitting down and reading. Everybody is different and everybody enjoys doing different things.
post #7 of 17
Ds1 didn't play with toys a lot. He played with Thomas trains and lego type things that were at his age level, but even then it was mostly only when we played with him. He was just really social and wanted to do what we were doing. He was more likely to want to "help" with laundry or sweeping or whatever.

He's 5yo now, and still prefers to be around other people, but is able to play alone in his room if he has to. He prefers building type toys (legos, etc) but he does do some pretend play sometimes too, now.
post #8 of 17
My nephew was like this. He's a bright, interesting guy (he's 22 now), but as a kid, he mostly played with other people. He's very much an extrovert, and things don't really excite him much. Ideas do, people do, but things not so much.
post #9 of 17
My twins are 4.5 and do not play with toys. When indoors they either dance, play pretend with each other, which does involve props for dress up, draw or paint, or look at books, but they rarely touch a toy; no blocks, puzzles, trains, doll house (they have a beautiful one their grandparents gave them and it sits idle), figurines, puppets, etc. I thought maybe it was because they were twins and kind of each other's toy, but maybe that's not it. They go to a Waldorf preschool though and despite their disinterest in toys, the teacher has no worries about the types of play they do engage in.
post #10 of 17
Both of my kids (middle schooler and early elem. aged) play a lot-very, very imaginative. They do not play with a lot of toys, but rather use their imaginations. When my oldest was about your dd's age though, she went through a sort of "transition" time where it seemed nothing clicked with her for a while.

I do know some only kids who definitely seem more adult focused, and a little at a loss for how to enter into the play of other children. Does your dd have any opportunities to be in situations where she can explore playing with other kids? Sometimes you'll see very different types of play with a group, versus one or two children.

We were fully waldorf and could have stocked a store with our open ended toys. My kids never played with them. Kids will play with what interests them, so maybe you have an idea of what engages your child?
post #11 of 17
My kids (20 months and 3.5 years) don't play with a lot of toys. Especially the older one.

He likes to draw occasionally, lots of running and jumping around, loves to go to the playground, and he likes his matchbox cars (but mostly to dump in a pile or line up and throw around). Other toys (and we have a lot) just sit idle.

I was concerned about it for awhile, and I mentioned it to my mom. Who reminded me that she had a child like that, too. Me! And I turned out normal enough.
post #12 of 17
You daughter sounds exactly like mine only mine is 16 months older. My dd tested gifted, but I don't know how much that plays into it. We've always said that she is a literalist and lives completely in the real world. Now that she is a little older, it's getting easier. She likes to do things like read, listen to stories and books on tape, color/write/draw, make crafts, ride bikes, inline skate, scooter and play with other kids.

She does not and never has played with toys - we have a pretend kitchen, dolls, Legos, K'nex and a variety of other toys and the only things that ever get used without my initiation and involvement are the craft supplies. She is starting to play games recently - Sequences, Monopoly Jr, Clue Jr. which makes me happy because I enjoy that, too.

She does play some with her little brother, but he's not much more into toys than she is.
post #13 of 17
You just described my 28 month old dd - exactly.

She has a complete inability to entertain herself for even five seconds. I have reams of open ended toys, puzzles, books, etc. She is disinterested in all of it.

It was a real shock to me, because my seven year old dd was/is able to play imaginatively from a very young age. She could entertain herself for hours, and continues to do so.

Truth be told I find it very tiring and exasperating. She typically climbs on things, rolls around on the floor, throws herself off the couch - gets into stuff she shouldn't. She absolutely can't help me with anything, because she can't follow ANY instructions, even when it's geared towards HER having fun...

I really honestly thought it was only my dd, or that there was something wrong. At 27 months, she's way behind in expressive language (can only say about six words) and I'm almost positive she has SPD or ADHD.

It's very tiring and depressing. Most of her waking hours are spent going from thing to thing she's NOT supposed to be doing or touching, and/or screaming in frustration, torturing her older sister, the dog, etc.

I'm slowly getting rid of toys/puzzles because she just uses them to hit people or throw them at people.

Sorry for the ramble. But yes, my preschooler absolutely does not/can not play with toys - at all.
post #14 of 17
Originally Posted by Learning_Mum View Post
Singing, reading and jumping around *are* playing!

Until the last hundred years it would have been common for a child to only own a few toys their entire life. Most playing would have not needed to include any *things.*
post #15 of 17
My twins wouldn't sit and play with toys until they were 5 or 6. My two year old, on the other hand, always sits down and plays with toys. I'm usually pretty surprised to look over and see him playing with toys his brothers never would.
post #16 of 17
Me! The $200 Melissa & Doug dollhouse sits there lonely, waiting for playdate kids. I've started 1/2 hour quiet time each day and she is now cool with the idea of being in her room alone for that time, but she doesn't get that it's mommy's little scheme to get her to use her imagination and role play...usually she flips through books or builds lego. Oh well, maybe DS will play with them.
post #17 of 17

I have the same problem with my son.  He does not play with most toys either.  He is a very bright boy, knows his ABC's, numbers colors, shapes, but toys do not interest him.  He loves puzzles though.  I have to physically sit with him and play together otherwise he doesn't touch them.  

Have you looked into Sensory Processing disorder.  A lot of the symptoms your dd shows are typical of that.  My son was diagnosed with that and it explains a lot of his behavior.  

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