We're pretty much done weeding out our plastic toys. Over the past year we have gotten rid of eight, yes EIGHT, boxes of toys plus a garbage bag full of ones not in good enough shape to donate. Now our four kids have mostly all wooden or natural toys. With Christmas coming up we're being asked left and right what we would like for the kids. Most of our family wants to get the kids toys and will not just give savings bonds or cash towards a larger gift. I just went through our amazon wish list (which most of the family buys off) and it's a lot of stuff. It's all things I'm ok with the kids having but it's going to end up being quite a bit of stuff. We're trying to ask for outside toys like chalk and sports items for the older two but the younger two are too little for gifts like that. I'm also dealing with how people react to the cost of some toys. Some family members seem to think that $20 for a wooden figure is nuts but they same people are more than happy to throw away that same $20 on plastic junk that isn't played with, gets broken, or is too awful to keep in the house for long.
The play area right now has:
a camden rose wooden kitchen
wooden, knit, and felt play food
plastic play dishes (which I'm ok with)
wooden nesting house
large wooden doll house
small wooden car
wooden thomas train set with tons of pieces
a basket of baby toys like rattles (some wood, some plastic)
a basket of random toys for the older kids
wooden push wagon
plastic shopping cart
tons of books
silk play cloths
Christmas will add at least:
a wooden ironing board to go with the kitchen
the fridge that goes with the kitchen
wooden nesting bowls
two wooden rattles
set of ostheimer figures
plan toy hammering set
three waldorf dolls
children's corn broom
wooden sticks for building
outside car toy
baseball and hockey items (outside)
Is the play area going to be packed and a constant mess and there are still five more people who only want to give toys and want ideas. This was never really a problem with just one or two kids but now with four the toys are multiplying. Four kids x nine family members who want to give them toys = 36 new toys just at Christmas. How do other families deal with this? Are there any other waldorf inspired toys that would be good but not take up too much space?
We have the CR kitchen set & you will love the fridge. It is huge! All of your food will fit in there, so bonus space-saver for you.
I think that list looks perfectly reasonable for four kids. The problem I know we will run into is that our baby does not need anything for toys and she is only the second kid :p She is not going to need anything until at least age 3, and by then we will hopefully be having another baby, who will also not need anything, oi! So, what I would do is rotate out a bunch of old toys so that they new toys can hold the spotlight for a while, and then rotate again, or you can keep all of it out & just deal w/ it until your kids are older & no longer care about toys. I have family who chose option 2 and there were tons of toys in their house (5 kids). Organized, but LOTS of toys. Now that their youngest is seven, there are v few toys out (most are in one bedroom). Their house is small, too.
Can you make more than one play area? Any nooks, even tiny ones, that a few toys can live in? Yes, I am thinking of this post: http://www.soulemama.com/soulemama/2010/11/at-the-top-of-the-stairs.html
DD (4.25.08) DD (4.23.10) DD (10.13.12)
Disclaimer: I'm not really waldorf, not officially, but I guess I've found that I unknowingly follow many of the principles lol!
I would second the idea of rotating out toys. If you don't have the storage space, maybe a toy box to store overflow could be added to the Christmas list. Otherwise, dedicate a closet or a small area of the attic/basement to storing the toys in an organized manner & rotate them on a weekly or monthly basis.
We have WAYYY too many toys and though most of them are nice imaginative (mostly wood/natural) toys that I'm happy for DS to play with, they just take up too much space and make the play area overwhelmingly chaotic. The more toys that are out, the less DS plays with them, and he seems to get pretty anxious about it. Plus he would much rather play with our vacuum or something (he's sweeping the kitchen right now lol) than toys. But yes, I do think there can be too many toys (waldorf or otherwise), though rotating or careful organization could minimize the damage a bit!
Right now our main play area (living room) has:
-one shelf of books (which I'm meaning to sort through soon)
-stack of puzzles
-play nativity (that will only stay out for the next 1.5mos)
-basket of metal pots/pans, wooden bowls, small grill set, & felt food (we've requested a wooden kitchen for DS for Christmas)
-basket of smaller toys (wood animals/cars/etc)
-basket of musical instruments
-toy tool box (I think that's the only plastic toy he has, but it's his favorite so I can't take it away/replace it!)
-art & craft supplies
I think I'd like to pare it down even more but I also want to keep enough out so when we have other kids over there is still plenty to play with!
Oh and DS also has a small playroom upstairs with some bigger wooden cars/trucks, an easel, stacking cups, stringing beads, more blocks, etc. That's also where we keep the overflow toys (built-in toy box along one wall). Plus he has a corner in our family bedroom with books, a small train set and some blocks and a shape sorter. I guess we sort of do the little play nooks like the pp suggested.
So your list really doesn't sound so bad considering how many kids you have!! My DS is just under 2 so I can only imagine how many toys we'll end up with when he's older & has siblings! I don't know how old your kids are, but if there is a substantial age gap, perhaps some of the toys the older ones aren't using much could go in storage until the younger ones are old enough to enjoy them. This would also be a good time to donate or sell any toys that aren't well-loved. I keep meaning to institute a 'one in, one out' rule with DS's toys but I can't seem to stick to it, especially now that many of his toys are nice, good quality ones that I hate to part with!
Any chance you can convince family members to give a 'family gift' for all the kids and then just small items for each to open separately (books/art supplies/clothes/etc.)?
I've been struggling with this too because not only do the family members go way overboard with gifts (I think DS got about 20-25 gifts just from my parents last year!) but they also don't all have a good grasp on what kind of toys I'd like DS to have. We've dropped lots of hints & sent out Amazon wish lists to the people who would receive it well, but I'm still dreading the onslaught of cheap noisy blinky toys (which, by the way, seem to make DS anxious) and just altogether too many toys! I wish we could get away with requesting savings bonds or zoo memberships but they all want to give TOYS.
I'll simply reaply to you title question :)
Stuff, no matter how nice and natural it is, is always stuff. So yes, there is such thing as too much wooden toys. It is no different then with plastic toys. If they the children) have too many, they still are not able to function within it, and it can creates clutter.
I strongly suggest reading simplicity parenting about this.
We're asking for art supplies this year. We go through them quickly, so I'm hoping it won't end up being too overwhelming. I only have one kid, but I'd imagine with 4 you must go through at least one set of paper pad, crayons, paints, and modeling clay every month or so, right? And it's easy for people to spend however much they want, even if you specify the brand on your list, by choosing to get just one thing (about 5 bucks) or one of each (20-25). Anyway, that's what we're doing. Just a thought.