Thursday, March 10, 2011

christmas all year long

There are several times I walk into Little Miss L.`s playroom and feel like I am swimming in a sea of toys. Don`t get me wrong, I am very grateful that I am able to even say the above, but sometimes I just feel overwhelmed at all the toys that surround me and makes me wonder what my daughter must feel like. The hubby and I are trying to follow a "less is more" approach by keeping toys in rotation, donating toys we no longer need, and refusing to buy so many.

This past weekend, I felt it was time to remove some of Little Miss L.'s toys which I felt were no longer age-appropriate or conducive to her developmental stage. Once I removed a good chunk of toys, I felt it was time to bring out a gift she received from her grandparents for Christmas 2009. You see, the hubby and I decided when special occasions came around, we would remove a few items and place in them in storage for later use. At the time of receiving the gift, it was not age-appropriate and Little Miss L. did not have the mental capacity to understand the toy. I felt that now she could grasp the concept of the toy and would enjoy the creative aspect it could provide. Boy - I sure was right! You should have seen her face when she saw her new toy...it was Christmas morning all over again! The last several days, Little Miss L. has spent many hours playing with her new toy. I love watching her role-play and I can see how her imagination and creativity have developed and expanded over the last several months.

I believe that by following this approach, it is not only good for the hubby and I to keep things clutter free, but it also allows Little Miss L. to further enjoy what she has. Once she no longer has interest and something is not providing any mental stimulation, then we know it is time to remove and move on without a whole bunch of chaos and over-stimulation. Plus, I love seeing her little face light up when she receives a new toy. As a family, what are you doing to help minimize the sea of toys you might be surrounded in?

Here are a few steps we take to follow through with our "less is more approach":
  • All toys should have a home were they are always kept - this allows children to learn that when they are finished playing with their toys they need to be returned to place they found them.
  • Toys should be organized in an easy to use manner. For example, books are located in one area, building blocks are located in one container, and stuffed animals are placed in a separate container.
  • Gather toys that are no longer in use - donate, pass them on to younger family members, have a virtual yard sale or have a garage sale.
  • Take a moment to examine the toys your child is playing with - ask yourself if they are age-appropriate and are they at your child's developmental stage?
  • Sometimes it is nice to remove your child's toys that "do everything" and allow your child to play with toys that facilitate your child to use their imagination.

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