Monday, August 12, 2013

Toys: Channel Surfing for Kids

Peter has a fair number of toys, but they are all Good Toys. He has stuffed animals, a train set, different sets of blocks, cloth dolls, trucks, balls, miniature cars, beads to string, musical instruments, beans to dump on Daddy measure, math toys, stacking cups, puppets, craft supplies, puzzles, dress-up clothes... Basically, everything a good preschool room would offer. His toys are of good quality and, with three exceptions, don't use batteries. My husband and I have been selective about what we want him to use and our parents and siblings have humored us.

New set from his Godfather!

Now, all of Peter's toys are out of sight except his musical instruments and his puzzles. None of them have been packed, just temporarily stored. Some are in the window seat, many in a play area in the basement, and some in baskets in his room. If he asked us, he could use anything; if he went up or down some stairs from the main floor, he could get most of it on his own.

He was home almost all day today and didn't touch anything other than his music and puzzles.

Instead, he sang songs, asked me to wrestle, showed off for Anne, swept the kitchen floor with me, and made up a new game for us to play with our fingers. He seemed completely content to just be part of the family. It makes me consider what is the best approach to toys whenever we move. Should I keep them all in sight and let him browse or have most of them out of sight but available? Is there benefit to seeking out a particular item versus "toy surfing"? It will be interesting to watch him in the near future and see what toys he actively wants.

4 comments:

  1. If you've ever read an John Rosemond, this is something he talks about. He advocates a toy "closet" system - or something like you've already done. He writes that the more "things" that are available, the more kids get overwhelmed and can't focus on actually playing for long periods of time. His suggestion is to only keep two or three things out at one time. At night, after a few days, or when you notice he is getting bored, you can swap one things for another (toy rotation, so to speak). Once he figures out that he can ask for something that is in "storage" he can swap out a toy anytime he wants by bringing you one that is out and swapping it for what he wants. It's genius and encourages all sorts of make-believe and long-term focused play.

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    1. I haven't read his writing, I'll have to check it out! Sounds like a good plan.

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  2. We've done the same thing with packing many toys away and storing others away around the house. David hasn't seemed to mind in the least either and is good at creating new games and "sweeping" the floor with me after meals and such.

    I think it's showed that he doesn't need all his toys in one place together because at least for him, he does tend to get overwhelmed by a lot (whether people, toys, etc). So once we move, I will happily weed out even the few amount of toys that we do have and take your idea of seeing if he will ask for a particular item if he wants it and watching what other creative things he will come up with instead of "toy-surfing."

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    1. In many cases, more is less. We'll see how it goes!

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