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anyone wanna join my toy-free tribe?

post #1 of 196
Thread Starter 
I think I'll wait to see if there's any interest before I totally spill my guts on why I am considerring a toy-free lifestyle or or very selectively purchased quality-over-quantity of toys for ds2. We are not a family in need, I would just like to bounce ideas off of other like-minded mamas without sounding judgemental of those who feel differently or have had life experiences that bring them to different conclusions.
post #2 of 196
I'm interested. We do have toys, but I keep plastic and battery powered ones out of the house. And I really favor toys that are actually tools, like real, working child sized brooms, garden tools, woodworking tools, etc. And I especially like open ended waldorfy style toys- the waldorf doll, silks, etc.
post #3 of 196
i'm interested.

my dd doesn't even really like any of the toys we've acquired...
we haven't bought anything...

she'd rather play with boxes, tools, read books, etc.

i'd like to know more of what you are thinking.

post #4 of 196
I'm subbed in.

We have plenty of nice toys but far fewer than most others I know. I have a few rules regading toys that start with no batteries, no new 'collections', they cannot outgrow their allotted space, I can't say no plastic as we have legos, open-ended, flexible, much loved (2nd hand) multi-use tools/toys are good. Also, if the real thing works, why buy a toy? Examples: my small sauce pan, hand crank flash-light, call nana on the real phone. If you are going to mess with baking, skip the easy-bake oven and make enough brownies for everyone!

I have a long ways to go on this one but as a minimalist i am curious and hanging around!
post #5 of 196
I'd like to hear more! I already have the no batteries rule. I'm curious about you philosophy.
post #6 of 196
Very interested in hearing your reasons, I'm of similar mind, with little one arriving in just over 3 months.

Plastic is definitely out, which must cross off about 95% of toys anyway. However, even if all toys were made from natural materials, I'd still be selective and be pursuing quality not quantity. I hope to construct rather than purchase, where I can.

It will be intriguing to hear your reasons
post #7 of 196
I'm in!
post #8 of 196
I'm interested too! We've never bought any toys for our 8-month-old, although she has some that people have given her and some hand-me-downs. We got rid of any battery-powered noise-making ones that people gave us, though.

Like others have said, she likes real stuff like pans. She especially loves feeling (and tasting!) glass and paper. And bananas.

I'd be really interested to find out more about other people's approaches on the subject.
post #9 of 196
For those of you without toys, how old are your DC?

What do you consider a toy?

Here is what we could not get rid of:
-stuffed animals
-wooden food

We have plastic stuff as well as some electronics, but these are the only items used regularly. Add craft supplies like paper, string, scissors, markers, recycled materials (oldest DD regularly makes her own toys), and books, books, books . . .that rounds out what they use consistently.
post #10 of 196
I'm also very interested.

I've been working as a nanny, and I really see how play evolves with many 'toys', or more over, doesn't. I like the idea of more open ended toys, and items that can be used a toys without specifications.

We are still childless, but have some strict ideas of which 'toys' will be in our home. So far we have a set of wooden blocks to set the pace. We are similar to many parents here, no batteries, hugely limit plastics (although my DP collects Schleich knights, so these will be in the home, although not often 'played' with. Toys that don't make sounds (non-battery toys) will be limited, but not banned from the home, I'd much prefer my child create the sound to the toy instead of the toy creating the sound, although some are just lovely wooden and click...that's ok.

My idea of great 'toys' would be;
Cooking supplies; bowls, wooden spoons, plates, wooden fruit etc
Dress us clothing from the thrift store.
Doll house with wooden people, tables, chairs etc. (both for a female or male).
Blocks, basically pieces of wood in all shapes, sizes, colours and whatnot. Made over purchased.
Gardening tools.
And craft materials.

Lets keep this thread alive.

Of the people who limit toys, or are toy-free do you have a TV/Cable? We are a Cable free family (although we do have a TV sitting in our bedroom unplugged for movies once per month).

Subbing for sure.
post #11 of 196
extraordinary spider, are you willing to spill your guts now?
post #12 of 196

We've drastically cut down the toys but I need to do more! Its hard... reading things like this helps though.
post #13 of 196
so, i wrote a post and my husband said it was too "fundamentalist."

personally, i agree with you. my husband doesn't want to "put limits" on anything.
post #14 of 196
My kids are 6yo and (almost) 21mo and I aspire to become a toy-minimalist. We've acquired wayy too much stuff over the years as hand-me-downs that my 6yo dd needs to simply let go of and I need to be an "enabler" in this regard. We don't even play with 98% of it. It gets moved around and takes up space and it annoys the living daylights out of me to have this stuff in my house. One of my goals this Spring is to get rid of the things that we are not actively playing with and/or emotionally attached to.

One thing that sort of amazes me when I look at all the toys we've acqured is that we don't get things from family and friends for holidays really. Last Chanukkah, I bought my dd the American Girl doll Kaya and she received a combined belated Chanukkah/early b'day present in late January of books from a friend. So that wasn't a major acquisition time. It's just that when people with older kids have done their Spring cleaning, they look at me and say, "hey, you have younger kids... here, take this!" and my dd's eyes light up and ... here we are.

I'm putting on the brakes and stopping the insanity. In fact, I sent my dd in the playroom right now with two boxes. One is for toys that are broken so that we can toss them, and the other is for toys that she knows we don't use. That's a beginning.

ETA: my kids are happiest with the "toys" we make ourselves. We paint and dye our own playsilks. We make our own puppets and playdough. Since I homeschool, we have a plethora of arts and crafts going on at any point in time. My dd has also expressed an interest in pottery so she knows that things have to GO to make room for that to happen.
post #15 of 196
Noordinaryspider, I think you were quite eloquent and I could have said much of it except that age range is only 11 years to 7 months and my dp is the father of them all.

To your post I could add many irrational thoughts but I do think you are on the right track. I hope I can post coherently soon.
post #16 of 196
The Gome's Home had a really great show on this a while back: http://www.dootieproductions.com/11142007.mp3

If anyone has relatives that don't understand, send them this radio show!
post #17 of 196
I'm in.
I've been thinking alot lately about what a nightmare all the toys are. It is unbelievable the toy piles I have seen in some homes. I have tried to keep it to a minimum, mostly natural and often real, purposeful items rather than toys. It's hard though! She has so many stuffed animals it is ridiculous. I stick unused toys in the closet and then give to good will after they've been forgotten about for a couple months.
SPIDER I though you were very eloquent. It really resonates with me.
post #18 of 196

im in

we have totally elimated the majority of plastic toys. I have kept the higher quality ones, use alot of natural hand made material now also. I keep eliminating the junk but have done major cleansing around here w/ our canceled move etc. So less if def more now too can someone just send that memo to my family around holidays? lol feels great!
post #19 of 196
Thinking about this more . . .

I don't think toys are inherently wrong by any stretch of the imagination. I think a toy is anything that one plays with. Take a box. If my child plays with it, it becomes a toy, and there is nothing wrong with that: my child is playing with a toy.

For myself, I also think limiting toys by materials or the way it operates (like batteries) isn't quite right, either. If my child loves to play with a toy made from plastic (like a Bilibo, a spatula, etc.) then so what? My DD had a little plastic bird that she carried around endlessly when she was 2. She slept with it, put in the stroller, and wanted to learn everything about it from a bird book (it was a Cockatiel). Should I have taken it away-- her prized bird-- and instead have handed her a wooden one?

I do not subscribe to the idea that toys must be purposeful, because that is imposing an adult's perspective on a child. Who are we to decide what is purposeful? For example, my oldest loves her fox stuffed animal. Is it "purposeful"? Well, not to me, but for her it is. She brings it everywhere, has learned about red foxes, has made things for it out of recycled things, and makes up stories about it. To me, that means the fox has helped her play, and when she plays, WOW does she learn.

The toys with batteries I do not find horrible, just a waste of money for the most part. I don't think the toys with batteries we have (though I admit, these have almost 100% been gifts) have affected the imaginations of my children. They couldn't, because they haven't played with them very often!

I think there are bigger problems (as mentioned on this thread) than toys themselves and what toys are made out of, which come from excess. Excessive amounts of toys (and everyone has their own definition of excess!) is what leads to a loss of time and money. Children can get overwhelmed. Play spaces can become inaccessible. Too much of anything at any age can lead to feeling empty and always wanting more. Why impose that on our children?

My biggest obstacle is gifts. People give very nice items, but the truth is . . .my children don't play with most of them, even the pretty natural ones. I would just like less stuff overall in our house!
post #20 of 196
I'm not a fan of toys, especially anything commercial.

DD is nearing 9 (in July) and she has a ton of dress-up clothes (store bought and thrift store bought), art/craft supplies and over 400 books. She loves to help me clean and cook and help DH in the yard. She also loves playing sports and torturing our dog She does have a collection of Care Bears she's gotten as gifts over the years.

DS is 7 1/2 and has a bit more toys. While he still is the same as DD when it comes to cooking, cleaning, DH helper, dog tormentor and book collector, he does have a TON of cars and a ridiculous amount of toy dinosaurs. He is definitely more into 'stuff' than DD.

We just bought a 5 bedroom house and DH wants to make one room a playroom and I said "What are we going to put in there???".

I'd rather have the kids helping me (HA HA) or out enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, getting tons of exercise.

When it comes to presents, I donate them or give them to friends/family. We've raised them from day one to be empathetic so they have no problem going with me to the thrift stores and taking their toys in. Also, most people ask what they wants so it makes it easier. One year, DD asked for money to buy animals for villages in Africa. Talk about a gift!

As for Christmas, it's such a blessing, for us, to be able to focus on the true meaning of the holiday instead of WHAT AM I GETTING??? Don't get me wrong, they see 'stuff' and sometimes want 'stuff', but I like to keep it minimal.
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