Hey y’all! Today I wanted to share a little about why we love simple toys around here!
1. They’ll last through babyhood, toddlerhood and childhood with endless possibilities. Something like blocks, little animals, toy food, etc. can be played with at any age! The ways these items get played with will evolve as kids grow up! If you take a walk down the “baby” toy aisle you’ll see a whole lot of battery operated light up sound toys meant to keep a baby’s attention. It might work for a season, but everyone I’ve talked to says that these type of toys are only used for a few months tops before the child is over it. Since I try to be intentional with what we buy and have in our home, I’d rather invest in toys that will last from babyhood through childhood and have a long long life in our home. Saves money and sanity by having less clutter. 🙂
2. They run on imagination, not batteries! Simple toys require kids to think more and use their imaginations! I’m going to share a quote from an article I love because this says it best!:
“Surprisingly, simple toys offer more play opportunities to children than complex toys. Simple, basic playthings such as blocks, dollhouses, and art supplies have multiple purposes. With simple toys, play is up to the child’s mood and creative interpretation. A complex toy results in play that requires a specific task to make it work. For example, pushing a button on a toy will make it play a song for you. The play is more straightforward and simple with play directed by the toy. While the toy will be fun and enjoyable for a period of time, it will limit play as well as the child’s creativity. The learning that results from the toy relates only to cause and effect. Closed-ended, toy-directed play does not allow for creative exploration or imaginative play, and it also limits a child’s ability to problem-solve. For example, give a child wooden blocks, and they can use them as musical instruments or they can build a tower or a road. Simple toys with multiple uses allow children to be in charge of the resulting play. Children can create a purpose for the toy and use it as they wish.”
3. They promote a calm environment. In a world that’s constantly over stimulating us, I want our home to be a place of calm. Singing, dancing light up toys are a normal part of our culture that we can’t avoid. I don’t think there’s any harm with playing with these super stimulating toys in moderation but they’re not something I want around all the time. This is for my child’s benefit as well as my own. This is also why I normally keep the tv off for most of the day. If I had to listen to electronic toys all day I’d be not only super annoyed, but I’d be overstimulated myself! This is probably just due to my personality. I’m much happier keeping them out of our space though and I’m glad my child will play quietly for hours with blocks, animals, cars, pots and pans and cups, etc! Which brings me to my last point..
4. They don’t even have to be toys.. I admittedly have expensive taste in toys.. I follow all these adorable kids shops on Instagram like Mine Mine Kids and all these European toymakers like Grimms and Holztiger, and I just LOVE it all. It’s sooooo cute and will also be something I keep forever and pass down so I don’t mind splurging on nicer things. Anytime I have some spending money I end up buying stuff for Gabe..haha
But you don’t have to spend all your money on nice European wooden toys.. Anything can be a toy. Some of Gabe’s favorite things to play with are my metal stacking bowls, funnels, measuring cups, and pots and pan lids. He will play with them for hours! It doesn’t take spending all your money on nice toys to get the benefits simple toys have to offer. Any old thing you have lying around can become a toy when you get creative!
Real Life Experiences With Simple Toys
For us personally, I feel like having only simple toys around the house helps Gabe to be a great play-er! He’s often complimented when we’re out with others on how he’s so patient and easily entertained by the simplest things. We had family tell us they were impressed with how well he played and didn’t need us to be constantly entertaining him. He has a pretty great attention span for his age I think! This could all just be his personality, but I like to think that the types of toys he typically plays with might play a small roll in this too because I’ve heard other like-minded mamas say the same thing about their children!
I asked some of my simple-toy-loving Instagram mom friends about their experiences and why they love simple open-ended toys and here’s what they had to say!
@littlesagemama said: “It’s so satisfying to watch my son intently focused with materials that I put thought into purchasing or making for him. You just don’t get that level of engagement with lights and sounds toys. As a bonus, you don’t have to buy as many things because simple toys hold their attention for far longer.”
@rascals_and_rainbows said: “As a primary school teacher, I’ve always recognized the value of learning through play. But since becoming a mum, I’ve been learning more about play in the early/preschool years. My absolute favorite activity is setting up an invitation to play for my girls..it can be something as simple as a basket of loose parts with containers for filling and tweezers for lifting, or on the other hand it might be an entire play scene set up for them to explore. No matter what invitation to play is set up, I always enjoy watching the play that unfolds between them and how their imaginations take them off in directions I hadn’t even thought of! Our most loved toys are building block sets and rainbows which have been used to create castles, stables, hospitals, houses, schools, to name but a few! And that is the joy of open-ended toys…they never tire of them as they are used in so many different ways.”
@mamasden said: “Aren’t toys amazing? They give children the chance to explore the world and its workings from the safety of play. Trucks are trucks, dolls are dolls, rainbows are rainbows…or are they? Many of the toys that I bring into my home and childcare setting have the potential to be anything the children imagine them to be. So a rainbow could become areas of a zoo, or a bed for the dolls, or even a ball run with the right manipulation and thought. Open-ended play does not need to include the expensive brands, it could be as simple as giving the opportunity to explore natural resources collected on a woodland walk and incorporated with toys you already own… the truck that normally is filled with bricks could contain conker instead. Having a child express themselves through mixed media will give endless opportunities in play.”
Let me know your favorite thing about simple toys!