Why Minimizing Toys Can Help Promote Imagination In Kids
It’s simple to acquire toys in your house, but the amount and sort of toys you have might have a detrimental impact on your childrens inventiveness. Learn why you should limit your childrens toys if you want to help them develop their imagination and creativity.
“I don’t have anything with which to play.” “I’m tired of it!” My three-year-old was pounding his feet at the time, but all I saw were toys when I looked over at him. There were mountains of toys, and they were costly toys.
He couldn’t possibly be bored, could he? He had a plethora of toys to play with.
There was a whole playroom full of amusement, and just next to him was a firetruck with its lights flashing and its alarms wailing. A tower of cardboard blocks stood on the floor, while a few of puzzles were incomplete on the floor. Up in the corner, there was a big bouncing horse, as well as a toy kitchen with the refrigerator emptied as proof of all the pretend food and plates strewn across the floor.
What in the world was he talking about?!
I sat there, unsure of what to do, but it wasn’t long until the music, flashing lights, and toys scattered around the room smacked me in the face.
There was a lot of it.
I had inadvertently reduced attention spans and overstimulated them to the point that they didn’t know how to make decisions or have the creativity to jumpstart their imaginations while attempting to offer my kids things that would help them improve (growth mindset) fine motor skills and general development.
This is when I decided to perform a master toy cleansing and teach you how to do it at home for the benefit of your children as well.
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Too Many Toys Is A Problem
Too much of anything could be overwhelming, whether it’s because we want to offer our children more than we had, don’t want them to feel left out, or just bought the goods because it feels good to give to our children and see their faces light up.
Any parent can tell you that an empty plastic bottle, toilet paper rolls, or cardboard box has entertained their child for longer lengths of time than any item purchased in a large box store’s toy department.
I had ruined the joy of simple fun and replaced it with stuff I believed they needed… toys that were now crushing their imaginations and attention span… sometime between one and three years old, when my twins crawled in and out of boxes and arranged them like towers.
Instead of playing independently, they fumbled around looking for something to occupy their time for more than a few minutes. I mean, I love to play with my toddlers, but sometimes quiet time and independent playtime is important too.
Overstimulation can sometimes result in behaviour that irritates parents. Overwhelm and overstimulation can lead to sibling bickering, shorter attention spans, trouble making decisions due to too many alternatives, whining, and other annoying behaviours.
I was standing on the threshold of a playroom that had been built with good intentions, but I felt like an exterminator about to wipe away two-thirds of the toys.
Decluttering The Toys
How To Decide What to Keep
We sometimes save things for nostalgic reasons, and before we realize it, the playroom is bursting at the seams with hundreds of items we feel have particular significance.
I know I’ve kept several of my older children’s toys in the hopes that my youngest would enjoy them just as much, despite the fact that she hasn’t showed any interest in them.
The quantity of toys your children have has no bearing on their ability to develop their imagination since creativity develops naturally. The fewer toys you have, the more of a learning atmosphere your child will have.
Take a look at all of your children’s toys, then cut them in half and do it again.
Toys you might want to get rid of? Here’s a quick list of toys you may donate, give away, or trash away right away:
Cracked, broken, missing parts
Toys that are loud and overstimulating
Toys that you own a lot of
Toys that are large and take up a lot of room
Toys that haven’t been played with in at least three to six months
Toys that promote negative behaviour, such as fighting
What To Donate
Create a drop zone for toys to give, keep, and a maybe pile as you go through all the toys in your house. I also recommend doing this when the kids are out of the home or asleep, so they won’t fight over all the toys in the trash pile that they’ll say are now “their favourite.”
Toys, books, large items, infant equipment, and outdoor toys must all be inspected as part of the grand cleanse you’re going to undertake.
If you have board books from when your child was one or two years old that haven’t been read in years, donate them or give them to a friend who can use them. Toss them if edges are chewed on or are covered with scribbles.
What To Trash
Go through all of your toys and throw out any broken or plastic garbage you’ve acquired from restaurants like McDonald’s and other kid’s meals.
These aren’t high-quality toys, and if you wouldn’t give them to a friend or sell them at a yard sale, they’re garbage.
They’re garbage if you feel bad about donating or giving them to someone else. Throw them out if they’re missing parts, cracked, or broken.
If your children have played with the toy so much that it appears to be an antique that is around 100 years old, please do not hesitate to discard it.
Consider what your child plays with frequently, is involved with, and would be unhappy if it suddenly went missing as you look through toys and components. Keep in consideration your childrens age as well as the toy’s development age. If the item is designed for a two-year-old but your boy is six, it could be an excellent candidate for the donation pile.
Items that have been well-loved, treasured, and even photographed with and are in good shape might be kept in a separate box reserved for mementos. The toys that stick out in your mind are the ones that are genuinely unique and, most of the time, the most basic.
Organizing The Toys That Are Left
Toys should be kept in one central location in your home. This makes it simple for your kids to locate and put away the objects when they’ve finished playing with them. You’ll never be able to keep them all organized if they’re spread across the bedroom, living room, play area, and master bedroom.
After that, sort the objects into groups based on their similarity. For each category, aim for one container. Consider the following scenario:
Automobiles, Legos, Dolls, Dinosaurs, Balls, Books, Stuffed Animals, and Puzzles.
Stages Of Toy Discovery
There appears to be a distraction aspect when children have a big number of toys, and when children are distracted, they do not learn or play effectively. Even children from more affluent families outperform children who have less toys and whose parents spend more time reading, singing, or playing with them.
When childrens get a new toy, Dr. John Richer, a paediatric psychologist at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, says that kids go through two stages: exploration and play.
“What does this toy do?” a child wonders while in exploration mode.
A child in play mode wonders, “What can I do with this toy?”
Creativity, inventiveness, initiative, and flexibility flourish in play mode. When childrens are presented with an abundance of toys, they spend more time investigating rather than playing. They also get into an ego state when deeply involved in play.
Surprisingly, it appears that offering fewer toys results in more time for play.
Impact Of Too Many Toys
Claire Lerner, a psychotherapist and the Director of Parenting Resources at Zero to Three, specializes in the development of young children. Claire performed government-funded research on the effects of too many toys, finding that childrens “become overloaded and over-stimulated and cannot concentrate on any one item long enough to learn from it, so they just shut down.” They aren’t learning to play imaginatively because they have too many toys.”
Reading the same books, singing the same song, and playing the same activities has a purpose, according to Christopher Willard, Clinical Psychologist and Author of Child’s Mind. Repetition helps to consolidate learning while also promoting cognitive growth.
On the other hand, having fewer toys encourages children to utilize and develop their creativity, increases attention span, encourages children to care for and value the things they do have and provides more opportunities to explore outdoors. Fewer toys mean less clutter in our homes, which helps us feel more grounded, have more time to play with our children and have more patience to extend to them.
Types Of Toys That Promote Play
If our children have fewer toys, we want to make sure that the ones they do have are of the highest quality. In a forthcoming piece, I’ll go into this issue in greater depth, but in the meanwhile, keep in mind that the play is in the kid, not the toy when evaluating a toy. If all a child has to do to make a toy light up or make noises is push a button, the toy has very little play value. These gifts produce an instant dopamine surge, making both the kid and the donor happy, but they are only temporary.
Toys like wooden blocks, magnatiles, and silk scarves, on the other hand, do not influence the kid’s play – they have more play value since the child is free to utilize their imagination for limitless play possibilities. Water tables are also a great sensory experience, as well as sensory swings.
Another method for selecting toys is to evaluate if they are OPEN or CLOSED. Closed toys are ones that have only one purpose and are finished after the task is accomplished. Open-ended toys, on the other hand, could be utilised for a variety of activities. Coloured blocks, for example, can be used to construct a castle, a bridge, or for counting, sorting, and balancing. A childrens creativity is sparked by open toys. However, certain closed toys, like as puzzles and shape sorters, could be enjoyable. We aim for a 75 percent open-toy to 25 percent closed-toy ratio. Here are my favourite Cause And Effect Toys For Babies And Toddlers.
The Less Toys, The Better
It may seem difficult to get rid of so many toys, but keep in mind that children can do more with fewer.
Children’s imaginations grow naturally when they are left to their own devices, and a room crammed with toys isn’t the best environment for them to learn to play independently, enhance their attention span, and encourage creativity.
Get rid of the toys if you wish to let a child develop his or her imagination.
I’ve also discovered that the less toys in the house, the less clutter there is and the easier it is to maintain clean. My kids are more appreciative of their toys because they play with what they have.
What You Should Do Next:
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