Sometimes, life chooses how many toys your kids will have around them. Today we are welcoming Christy from Thriving STEM who will share with us her story and the way she came up with the way to choose just enough toys for her children:
“Less Toys” does equal more play. However, as Mihaela told us in the kick off post for this Less Toys More Play series, kids benefit from having some toys. A day before yesterday, Erin gave us a great post about rotating toys.
I hope that you are planning to give it a try. Today, I would like to share a simple trick that helps me choose just enough toys.
Could you use help with toy organization?
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How I learned to choose just enough toys
A couple of years ago my husband accepted a new position twelve time zones away, literally the opposite side of the world. The transition would take a month, and involve living out of suitcases while flying between four locations.
My children were two and four. They needed toys, but we were limited by airline luggage regulations. I decided that we would pack all their clothes in one suitcase, and all the toys they needed for the month in another. You know what? They were entertained by that suitcase of toys for the whole month.
The new position transitioned into a traveling position. We decided that the whole family would just travel with Daddy. Sometimes we went by plane. Other times we loaded our entire “household” into the minivan.
Again, I packed exactly one full-sized suitcase with the kids’ toys. And again, it was enough. When we arrived in a new hotel we would arrange their toys on the AC unit, and the fun would begin.
A simple trick for choosing just enough toys
We have now lived in our new home for a year. A year is long enough for a home to feel cluttered. I am working on purging and cleaning. How many toys should I make available to the children?
One suitcase worth for the two who are close in age, and therefore, play with the same things, and another a half suitcase for my littlest. If I had one child, I would use one suitcase. Everything else is getting sorted. Some of it is going into the rotation, and some of it is leaving our home.
Knowing what to choose
Here’s a basic list of what went in our suitcase. Yours may look a little different.
- 6 books — Six books is about two hours worth of reading. Good books can and should be repeated!
- A building toy
- A pretend play set
- A fine motor exercise
- Paper, colored pencils, and scissors — You might do glue and crayons if you are not actually traveling.
- A ball
- One buddy per child. This was their doll or stuffed animal for comfort.
- A puzzle
- A globe of some kind, and a map of our country
- Alphabet and number manipulatives — We used magnetic letters and numbers, but you could use flashcards, or some other moveable letters and numbers.
Children play best when they are not overwhelmed by too many toys, so go get a suitcase, and fill up with your child really needs to enjoy their day!
Christy McGuire is a trained physics teacher who loves developing new ways for students to engage with science. While taking a break from the high school classroom, Christy rediscovered that young children are tons of fun, and can learn powerful science and math too. Now she is attempting to cross the excitement of early childhood style learning with serious STEM study and sharing the results at Thriving STEM.
All 24 articles we will be sharing during February have been written by a number of prominent family-friendly bloggers (some educators, all parents). These articles will be collected and you will find them on our page Less Toys. More Play.