less is more: toys


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How can less really be more?

I've seen it come to pass in one particular category: toys.

You remember back a while when I went through the house and gathered toys and purged many?   It was thrilling to clean out the plentiful and unplayed with and non-imaginary toys, and yet, it was a new adventure, one in which I didn't know how it would end.

Now I know.

The biggest change came in me.  I came to not invest all of my intentions of their play into the toy.   It apparently was never about the toy.  Getting rid of many toys proved that.  They were really just distractions to my children's real play.  

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With the distraction of gadgets and noisy-blinking lights gone, this is what I've observed.  Having simple, basic toys, blocks, stacking cups, little cotton characters, wooden trees, dress up capes and dresses, dolls, and creative supplies is all they really needed.  They reuse these basic "toys" everyday in new ways.  One day to set up a dog vet in their bedroom, another day to set up a fairy house in the basement.

Their play is creative.  It reminds me of my childhood of riding bikes all summer and playing bank and making paper food.

I'm about to make my rounds again to clear out any distracting, unnecessary toys.  This time around I'm feeling more confident.  Sometimes I roll my eyes to Bobby and complain when the house has turned upside down from a day of intensive, creative play with paper dog food scattered on the floor, remnants of a doll hospital with glass jars filled with water, buckets turned into basins, and fabric scraps for bandages covering the living room.

Thankfully those days my kind husband reminds me that this is everything I wanted for them. It is everything I've set out to offer them in their childhood.  They intuitively turn simple things into something magical.  I never know what a new day will bring.  Paper lights taped onto their scooters for motorcycles? Homemade felt sunglass case made for plastic glasses earned at the dentist?   (I'm really hoping the sunglasses will actually make it another week for my excited daughter.)

I wanted them to learn to expand their minds early on and learn to be resourceful in a world of too much, too soon, and too loud.  This has become one of the most satisfying moments for me as a mother.  And has simply come from me removing distracting things.  Anyone can do it.  And the most incredible part is children will knew exactly where to follow from there...

the sleepy time gal