Less Is More: Toys

We already know this. We makes jokes about babies liking the box more than the present. We read magazine articles about decluttering. I for one can't remember the last time the beautiful dollhouse in our playroom was played with. So why are we drawn by the allure of fancy toys again and again?

The kids have been playing with the wooden blocks and toys in this photo for hours. The red airplane in the middle is probably the most played with toy in our house. It's the kind you pull back and let go then it does loop-de-loops on the floor. It was like $1.

Yet as I write this, I am searching Amazon for another Disney princess for my daughter's birthday. I guess I want both - to give her the shiny plastic toys she craves and provide the open ended toys that will encourage imagination. 

Maybe the solution is to look to Kim John Payne's Simplicity Parenting for some guidelines. He claims that the average American child has more than 150 toys. And warns that "an avalanche of toys invites emotional disconnect and a sense of overwhelm." 

Cull the toys Routinely sort toys, fix or throw out broken ones, give away those that aren't played with. 

Rotate toys Pack up some toys, after a while swap them with the ones that had been available. More

Buy simple toys Basic toys that can be played with in lots of ways foster the most creativity and learning. 

It's striking me that this, like so many other times when raising kids, is a balancing act. We want to provide enough that kids feel cared for but not so much that they look to us for everything.