Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When less is more

Cull, cull, cull! Starting with this darling boys toys. As you can see he adores his little cars but does he literally need a hundred of them? My thinking is that with toys, less is more. 
I had a moment of realisation last week, I literally discovered that a simple thing such as a bar of soap and a container of water pleased my little lad immensely. I have had many a day struggling to entertain my "2"yr old as many mothers do and my moment was discovering my son is a sensory child. So with this realisation I asked myself what am I doing with a room full of toys that don't often get played with. I should be trying to fulfill his yearning for learning. I would like to cull his toys, so he has all the same types of toys but not as many and be able to really enjoy each toy that he has. One thing that has really stuck with me but have no idea where it came from or where it resided with me but in the days where money and things were not as plentiful. A simple rag doll made lovingly from the ladies that gather together and work their needle and thread, was the only toy a young girl would get at Christmas time. It would be taken everywhere and adored and cuddled and passed on for generations. The girl would talk to her doll and dress it up, have tea parties, cuddle it when upset and laugh with it when happy. This toy gets to be played with in many different situations and imaginative play happens when there are no other choices. It would be nice for my boy to know all his toys well and adore them and appreciate them. How can he appreciate and adore ALL his toys when he doesn't even know he has most of them. He honestly doesn't get to the bottom of the toy box (unless tipped out of course) to know what he has.
Anyway, one thing that he does adore is his cars.
So, I started right there with his cars. Broken cars went into the bin :( what do you do with broken items? I had no idea how to reuse them.We kept a little shoe box of cars in place of the two large boxes, he has nearly all sorts still from a race car to a tip truck and some will be used outdoors. This is so much more manageable for me and him.
Then we sorted his animals, how many elephants can one child have. He now has a shelf of zoo and farm animals on display rather than a box full. He also has his marine ones for bath time. 
He had a large basket full of building blocks, the majority of the time he would tip them out, build a road for his cars and leave the rest on the floor ggrrrrr. Happily I managed to get a small box of blocks in primary colours so I can teach him colours and still build and count, wonderfully manageable.
We enjoy reading and this is where I think we simply can't have enough books. He has a few favourites but I don't mind how many books he has, I love that he is eager to read.
One thing I would like to invest in, is a wooden train set. He loved trains but got frustrated with the ones we had because he couldn't keep them together so the old train set will be sold at a garage sale and a new one will be purchased. I know this isn't really frugal but I will try my luck on eBay or craigslist.
In all this "culling" I made up a basket of things he likes to do such as play dough, drawing, painting and his things for water play. I will be adding sand to this also, not a huge amount just enough to enjoy the different texture. So he wont be lost for things to do and wont be missing out.
I felt harsh doing this so it was important for me to really make sure he still had his toys just less of the same item. Also that we had a manageable amount so it was less exhausting for me and not so overwhelming for him.
It has even brought me back to life a Little, I am excited to go out looking for things in the garden to glue into a scrapbook and I am excited to be finding him things that he might find interesting, even if it is a box from the grocery store. I want to help my boy find joy in simplicity and things that bring joy to his eyes, ears, hands and hey, I can even add the mouth into that if I make his food interesting enough.


  1. With simplicity imagination is nurtured. I think that too many toys is over stimulating and the urge to move on through many toys and play with them is overwhelming and does little to enhance concentration spans.

  2. With some of the plastic animals or cars you can create into fun jewlery for gifts.

    A friend made me the most amazing gorgeous necklace out of plastic people.