I’m a sensitive mom with a sensitive child. This means we can get overwhelmed by too much stuff, by a messy room, or by having too much to choose from. When my son was a baby it was relatively easy to keep down the volume of toys. The items he needed were often large, but few, and he outgrew them quickly. As soon as they were not needed we donated, sold, or gave them away. However things changed around his first birthday. He received a lot of gifts and the one toy box became two baskets and books were everywhere.
While it is obvious that as he grows some of the toys should be sold or donated, the line between what to keep and what to let go can be rather blurry. This is how the quest to simplify toy overwhelm first started. What toys will my son benefit from and what is simply clutter? How do I simplify our home without taking away learning and fun? How do I make our home engaging for a developing mind and still looking good for adults. Oh yeah, and let’s achieve all this in a small space!
What is the Simple Toy Box
The simple toy box is a toy and play space guide I write based on my own research and the experiences I gather in my own home and other spaces where my son regularly plays. I am neither a pure minimalist or a hoarder of things so my goal is to simplify, but by no means be extreme in what we bring into our home.
It isn’t a wooden box of toys in a white-walled room with a single plant on the window sill and soft music playing in the background. Yes, that is one option, but there are many other versions of a simple space that makes children happy to play and explore while keeping your sanity intact. It is a vibrant, playful, warm, inviting space with plenty of interest and things to do.
Most importantly it’s not overwhelm or piles of toys everywhere. It’s not extreme in any sense. It is just enough, but not too much. It’s investing in quality over quantity. It takes discipline to get there and maintain it, but in my opinion it’s well worth it.
3 keys to a minimalist toy box
- Get rid of anything you don’t think is valuable right away – duplicate toys, broken or missing pieces, your child outgrew it.
- Keep everything organized and labeled – invest in proper storage, label boxes, keep sets together using clear bags.
- Rotate toys – keep a consistent spot in your home where toys will be stored. You should be able to clean up the room in 5 min or less. Smaller containers tend to work better than large.
Why a simple toy box?
Admit it, as a first time parent you likely had a pretty clear idea about the kind of toys your child would play with. Many of us wanted all wooden toys, quiet toys, or only toys made from organic cotton. The reality is that as soon as they are born you start receiving presents from well-wishing friends and relatives and the toy collection grows. Then comes the first birthday and even more toys arrive. Then your kids bring home birthday party favours or amusement park prizes. You get the idea.
Very quickly trinkets and toys are coming at you from every direction. While many of these items can be fun for a short while, they don’t necessarily provide value in the long run. Either because they don’t encourage skill building and practice, or are poorly made and break easily. The purpose of a simple toy box is to make play an engaging and creative activity where kids benefit from the items they interact with beyond just being entertained by them. After all, play is the work of the children and it is our role as parents to guide them towards doing their best work.
Hope you will find the reviews and guides I post on this site helpful to your own journey as a parent.