Everyone remembers the Mastercard ad with the baby playing with the cardboard box. I always thought it was an astonishing admission for a credit card company but nevertheless, society has not received the message that children need very little. There are countless articles and books on the topic of toys with many agreeing that ‘less is more’ and that fewer toys help children play for longer. The Montessori approach focuses on wooden toys without batteries, with the idea being that a child will enjoy more open-ended play with a toy that can be used for more than one thing.
Here are some other reasons fewer toys in your home is beneficial:
It’s easier to tidy up
Not only will it take less time to tidy up at the end of the day, but getting your children to help will be easier as it is quicker and things can have a clearly marked home.
It costs less money
You can afford other experiences or more expensive toys if you buy fewer.
Your home looks nicer when it’s less cluttered
Many people, myself included, feel stressed when the toys and other clutter pervades all areas of the home. Having fewer toys (even if some are put in storage and rotated) means the area when toys are used (whether it’s a corner of a room or separate space) will look neater.
Children will play for longer by themselves
Some alternative educational theory explains that children will play longer if they enjoy what they are doing and are able to be more engaged with it. Montessori and Waldorf theory is centred on toys being the equivalent of an adult’s work. If children are provided toys they are interested in and have space to play with them, they will often play for longer.
Yesterday we unpacked the new wooden train set from Aldi (yes we succumb to buying new toys like anyone else!). Ripley wanted to unpack everything. So we did. All 95 pieces were strewn across the living room. We decided to put away all the extra pieces, the signs, the trees and people and the signal pieces. Left with just the train and its carriages and the track, Ripley played alone for longer than usual, much longer in fact.
For more ideas read ‘A rallying cry to end the overwhelm of toys’ by Tracy Gillett of Raised Good and join her 7-day simplifying childhood challenge!