Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Joy of Less

I love rotating my daughter’s toys, and find it a wonderful way to make the most of the toys we have while at the same time minimizing toy chaos in our home. But last month, rather than rotating, I chose to just simplify. Christmas was coming. And a big birthday party the week before Christmas. So I knew that an abundance of new toys were likely to find their way into our toy box. Intending to just create some space in anticipation, I put away at least half of the toys I had out for my daughter to play with. Standing back to survey my work, I began to have second thoughts. I am a firm believer that less can be more when it comes to toys. I rotate toys frequently, but at any given time only a small percentage of the toys we actually own are out in the toy box. So following my pre-Christmas toy purge, the toy box looked pretty empty. Slightly worried, I told my husband that I’d bring some toys back up from the basement in the morning.
Well, morning arrived. And my little princess took one look at her only-half-full-toy-box…and literally jumped for joy. Suddenly able to SEE every toy in the box, she happily sorted through and thoughtfully chose her toys. For days afterwards, she played more contentedly than I think I’ve ever seen her play.
Now Christmas has passed and the toy box is overflowing once again. And while my munchkin is delighted with all of her new toys (as am I – I am such a toy fanatic), we are bordering on sensory overload once again. So today is toy sorting day, and most of the toys will be put away, to be brought back into the rotation in weeks to come.
Did you know…
·   Too many toys can be distracting for young children, taking away from their ability to focus on an activity. Fewer toys and a less cluttered environment allow kids the opportunity to really attend to and concentrate on a task, while at the same time encouraging more creativity with and in depth exploration of the toys available to them.

·   The less a toy does (i.e. the less flashing lights, music, etc.) the more your child is required to do, generally speaking making SIMPLE TOYS more beneficial for learning than fancy “bells and whistles” toys.

·    Creating a good storage system makes toy rotation much easier. Many stores put storage bins on sale in January, so now is a great time to revamp your toy storage system!
·   Thinning out your toy supply can be a great lesson in sharing. Have your child choose a few toys to pass along to a friend, or to donate to a program that helps kids in need.


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  2. I do my best at this. I find it very hard though! I don't know if it is because my kids are a little older - but they seem to always want the ones I put away in the attic!

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