• mom chat // toy overload?

    11.29.2012 / toys & games


    With the season of giving (and receiving!) fast approaching, I’ve got toy overload heavy on the brain. Even though Bee is only four months, we’re already surrounded with plastic contraptions, giant toys and well-intended gifts from friends and family. And although it seems unappreciative to even utter, I’m feeling a bit overloaded with goodies.

    I recently stumbled on the story of a preschool teacher who replaced every toy in his classroom with raw materials (egg cartons, cardboard boxes, etc). No batteries allowed. Isn’t there something thrilling about the concept? I’m somewhat of a minimalist at heart, so I love the idea of letting Bee run wild with nothing more than her imagination.

    Tell me, do you struggle with a constant toy overload in your home? And how do you combat this – especially during the holiday season? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    p.s. One of my girlfriends has what she likes to call a “Hello, Goodbye” rule in her home. If she welcomes a new sweater into her closet, an old article of clothing must leave. If her daughter brings home a new book, it must replace an old one on the shelf. I’m not quite organized enough to give it a go, but it does sound incredibly balanced, yes?
    p.p.s. Can you spot my dog Bernie’s favorite toy in the above picture? It’s one of Bee’s stuffed animals! 

    Photo Credit // Woodnote Photography

    • Desiree

      I definitely have this problem! I hate to say it but it kind of gets harder the older they get. I try to focus more on giving art and imagination based items – coloring books, lots of paper, bead sets, clay and paints. It has worked pretty well so far!

      • @Desiree: I was afraid someone would say that! :)

    • I can’t STAND all the stuff. I couldn’t wait to be out of infant/early toddler stage to get rid of all the swings and bouncys and playmats and… While I don’t necessarily follow the one in, one out rule, I definitely visit my local thrift store with donations at least once a month. Munchkins in tow. I think of it as early lessons in recycling.

      Brace yourself, the holidays are brutal. I learned my lesson last year and revamped our xmas lists, following the ever brilliant Design Mom’s lead. Lists by category. Less is more!


      • @Plum: I’d love to hear the list by category idea!!!

    • I am the same way!!!!! Jude is 10 months, and has a few(less than 5) battery operated toys, and honestly, he rarely plays with them. I’m obsessed with wooden toys, like blocks and puzzles. And he is obsessed with anything that is not a toy- current obsession is Christmas bulbs(the plastic kind, sans hook). Growing up I was not a fan of toys that required batteries bc they would wear out and were limiting- I’m hoping to raise my kids the same way.

      For Christmas, I’m thinking one of his gifts might be a convertible carseat…cheating, i know, but he really doesn’t need anything and he would love the box;)

      • @Hannah – Ha, we’re gifting Bee a cardboard box as well. She won’t remember anyway! ;) Also, lots of PJ’s. :)

    • Kelly

      Bee’s a bit young for this now..but a friend of mine puts away new toys from birthdays, etc and on rainy days or difficult days, brings out a new toy and it’s a fun way not to overload the child all at once!

    • We have the rule to that if something goes, something goes out. Every few months I go through their toys and purge and donate to a local charity. We live in such a small house that we can’t pile on the toys. They don’t need that many anyways…they had more fun with running through painters tape than the new plastic toy my mom got the recently.

      • @Maya Amen to painter’s tape! It’s a kid’s dream! :)

    • alison

      just want to make an additional note that i’ve found that sometimes the well intended plastic stuff is actually really great in moderation. i try to give my son “pretty”, creative and educational toys, but he sure loves the crap out of his horrendous looking fisher price jumparoo and that’s a ok with me.

      • @Allison: Great point! I know I couldn’t have made it through these past few months without Bee’s plastic swing. Function first! :)

    • I am working on an article right now about this exact subject! It’s one that has become a central part of our life as a family. I am a minimalist-naturalist and have had to slowly get my husband on board, but we are finally there! Whoo Hoo!

      I agree with the less is more theory and also how amazingly great my three kids are with turning a box into just about anything they dream up!


      See you at Alt!

      • @Jill – Excited to read your article; please share!

    • I’m expecting a little one in a month and I’m terrified of having anything plastic in the house. I grew up with lots of art supplies and wooden toys so I know it’s possible. We’ve had one baby shower and we politely informed everyone of our intent to surround our child with natural toys and art, and everyone was on board. I think the best thing is to kindly remind friends and family that you know will be gifting you things of what you would like to nurture your child with.

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