As a first-time mama, there are a lot of new frontiers for me. I've been thinking primarily about necessities (diapers, carseat, etc.), and that's what I put on our baby registry. Recently, my MIL asked, "What about toys?" We assured her that newborns don't really need toys right away (she knows that, she's just SO excited about being a grandma - she's adorable about it! ), and we'd prefer more practical things for now. However, this got me thinking about toys.
As a social worker, having spent a lot of time with children and observing & thinking about how they play, I have a lot of thoughts about children & toys, but have a hard time articulating them, so I wrote some of them down. I figured, why not share my random ramblings here?
Toys for our child
I want our child's childhood to be filled with beauty, magic, and inspiration, and for them to have toys that inspire these mindsets. I don't want to surround her with cheap plastic junk, created solely for the aim of ensuring that she will grow up to be a good little consumer of Disney products or other such items. I want to surround him with toys that will enrich his imagination, open up worlds of wonder, and allow him to grow freely. I want her to be inspired to pretend to be a doctor, dragon, firefighter, firefly, the sun, or the wind. I don't want dolls or figures for our child that encourage him to act out a pre-determined character on a television show; I want dolls or figures that encourage him to act out whatever story might have formed in his own his mind in that moment. I want our child to have toys that will help her physically grow, develop fine & gross motor skills, that will help her test and challenge the ever-changing strengths and limitations of her own body. I want toys for our child that will not entertain him, but will assist him in learning the myriad of ways that he can entertain himself.
This is why there are certain limitations that I would like to set on toys for our child. I would like to avoid any toys that are licensed characters, or have licensed characters on them. I would like, for now, to avoid any battery operated or electronic toys (this may change as our child gets older). Whenever possible, I would like our child's toys to be made out of natural materials, wood, silk, cotton & wool, so that we can talk about where in nature these toys came from, and who we have to thank for them.
It is true that some of these toys may be more somewhat more expensive than what one would find in Toys R Us. However, I do not believe that a child needs an overwhelming amount of toys. If you give a child toys that she can only play with in one way, she will tire of them quickly; if you give a child a toy that has a plethora of uses, she will cherish and enjoy it for years. I would rather our child receive one or two really special toys for his birthday or other holidays that he will find increasing enjoyment in and uses for, rather than ten flashy toys that will initially be enthusiastically consumed, but will lose their appeal in two weeks. I want to emphasize the quality of things over the quantity of them.