This last week, as part of Big M’s in home therapy we all gathered the room full of toys together and sorted through them. The goal was to organize the toys to be easier to find, sort through them and pick ones to donate or discard and to set up a new toy system.
I am quite excited for this new toy system! We broke everything up into small bags and buckets. They get one bucket of toys in the living room at a time. Before they can get a new bucket out they must pick up and put the first bucket away in the toy room. To start out they will not be allowed in the toy room without Mom and Dad to prevent the dumping of buckets of toys. Just because.
While going through toys and having to decide if it was something we wanted to give away or not I was reminded of a goal that HD and I had had this past Christmas. Let me start out by saying that we failed at that goal. Horrible, utter failure. Enough on that though. Our goal was to get the kids toys that did not require batteries. In today’s day and age that can be quite a tall order. Both in finding and in shelling out the money.
We now have everything nice and organized and ready to finish up this week at our next home session. We also managed to go through everything I had already bagged as give away and sorted them out so that we could take some of the toys to a local resale store and trade them in for new toys. We are hoping that by doing this we can help Big M not form such a strong attachment to EVERY little toy he sees. Yes, this is partly my fault for spoiling my boys horribly and not being willing to get rid of some toys or say no to others. At least I have recognized this problem and it is now being fixed!
HD got home from work today to find that I had started looking into various other blogs and monthly subscription services. What better time to discuss what toy direction we wanted to take than right before we went to trade in toys?! Do we want to jump in with both feet and go (mostly) battery free? Do we want to consider these subscriptions that send a box of toys and other goodies to our house every month or quarter? Is this money we get tomorrow going to go towards new toys right away or be banked for a future date?
What I decided on for toys was that I wanted to go as battery free as possible inside the house and have only a couple select battery powered items for car rides. I’m sorry, but the iPod does wonders for a 6+ hour car ride. This lead me to check out a few other blogs and conversations about going battery free to make sure that I had a well-rounded selection for my growing and developing kids.
What did I come up with? BLOCKS! Those wooden blocks topped all the lists I read. Some said multi-shaped blocks and others said colorful blocks. I’m going to go with my blocks that a family member brought back with them from a missionary trip when I was around three or four. Yes, I still have them and they are now being passed down to my kids and hopefully their kids. Other fine motor and creative toys included art supplies and puzzles. Both of which we have in excess.
For gross motor and to get them moving, everyone agreed that push toys, pull toys, and ride on toys were necessary. There are brands that make ones that are not battery powered. I may have to invest in one of those. Or find the push toy that we have. Even though it’s batteries are dead it still provides plenty of entertainment for LM. Ride on toys are not something we have as we have not had the space for a ride on toy in several years. We also live in an area that does not allow for much use of ride on toys outside. A suggestion that I have considered many times is a miniature trampoline. There are tiny ones with handle bars and larger ones with a net around it. Then of course there are the giant outside yard ones. We have recently acquired a climbing toy with stairs and slides and all sorts of potential fun. Now we just have to wait for the ground to thaw enough for us to go pick it up.
The last area to address was social and interaction skills. Easy-peasy. Kitchens, work benches, stuffed animals and dolls, play vacuums and brooms. We have a play kitchen and play food. They also have numerous stuffed animals and even a baby doll or two. I may have to reach into my 80’s baby past and buy them a cabbage patch doll. They make boy ones now-a-days!
This means that we already have enough toys to satisfy all three goal areas. Now to decide what to part with. I will be the first to admit that I attach sentimental meaning to a lot of things and have a hard time getting rid of some things. Especially when it comes to items for my kids. I just want them to have the world. Don’t we all? A hard pill to swallow is that they don’t need all these things to have the world. So out goes the toys and in comes the train tickets to go see their “Aunt” and “Uncle” and visit the zoo and wildlife sanctuary.