Friday, June 20, 2008

Toys

Okay, so the more I'm learning about Attachment Parenting, the more I have to hold myself back from going through my entire house and getting rid of all of the kids' toys. (Don't worry, my husband won't let me). I'm realizing that most of what we have is screaming consumerism at my children. And it's all plastic. Ick.

For those of you who have made a conscious choice about what toys you allow in your home, can you offer me any pointers? Right now I'm leaning towards natural, wooden, non-toxic, organic, t.v. character-free toys. So what do we do with all the ones we already have? My husband refuses to let me get rid of them until we replace them. I'd love to start making our own toys. :) Maybe we could start making some, and then gradually get rid of the old stuff?

7 comments:

  1. Because our kiddo has gotten gifted more presents than we've bought him, he has ended up with a larger amount of plastic toys than I would have liked. However, I can't bring myself to throw them out. Part of that is the frugal side of me, part of that is the "I don't want this stuff in a landfill" aspect.

    That being said, I have made it a house rule (although my parents haven't followed it at all yet) that the only new toys to enter the house are either wood or fabric. This is also because we have another babe on the way and I'd like kid #2 to be even more plastic-free than our first.

    I think as the toys our first child are outgrown I'll be donating them or perhaps Freecycling them instead of passing them down to our next child.

    So yeah, icky plastic, but filling landfills with more gunk is just as bad. :(

    As far as other toy rules, I've tried to limit the amount of trademarked characters on toys and we've done pretty well, just a handful have slipped through.

    Making stuff is a wonderful idea too! I've recently been finding tons of tutorials for softies online, plus pictures of other things that I think I could manage with a little trial-and-error. The same could be done with wooden toys as well.

    Hope that helps! :D

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  2. Hi!
    Thanks for visiting my blog... glad you like it! I know what you mean about wanting another so you can try things differently... luckily, there's not much I would change haha, but there's a few little things, like elimination communication and I would have NEVER bothered with the crib haha (lasted two nights!)

    Anyway, I agree with green plan(t).. plastic is icky but putting them into a landfill is worse. Actually, a majority of our toys are plastic, but they were bought used at a thrift store, to keep them from the landfills... I figure we ought to squeeze all the fun we can out of them before they end up in the pacific. I also find it unnecessary to ban all plastic toys, they can be fun, I just don't buy them new, and figure the fun and education to be had from them outweighs the potential risks.

    We do have some natural toys, as well, but aren't really striving for 100%. I just find that fanatical. A majority of our toys are used... even all our wooden blocks. I've been collecting wooden blocks from thrift stores for over a year and now have a whole big basket of them. I just make sure not to go overboard and change things too radically... I take my time, and I also keep in mind that ditching everything I have and replacing it with new, better "greener" STUFF is also being consumerist and isn't much better.

    We definitely do stay away from trademarked toys and clothes, or anything overly branded or commercial, such as "dora the explorer" this and "spongebob" that.

    If you're concerned more about the amount of stuff, you could regift some of it, or give it away on freecycle or to someone in need of the toys... maybe your husband would go for that. If you cut down and simplify, maybe he'll dig it, who knows.. nobody likes tripping over clutter constantly.

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  3. Don't worry guys, I wouldn't dream of putting toys in a landfill. :) I'm participating in a Mom & Baby Sale next week-end - where you rent a table to sell off your used baby stuff. It's a pretty big event here every year, so I'm using it as an opportunity to purge. :) Whatever doesn't get sold, I would likely donate or Freecycle. I was going to use the proceeds from the sale to buy some natural toys - but maybe that would just be MORE consumerism?

    Thanks for some perspective, though, that plastic toys are not the end of the world. My kids do have quite a few character toys - especially Dora, Thomas, and Cars. (My daughter LOVES trains and cars). I would like to limit those, but maybe I'll just start limiting them in the future?

    Part of it is that I just really, really want to purge. The toys take up half of our living room (they have a play area on one side of the room), and it seems like the more toys they have, the more time I spend picking up, tripping over, and cursing at toys, and the less time I ultimately spend playing with my kids. I'm always after my 3-year-old to clean up her toys, and then I think that if she just didn't HAVE so many, it wouldn't be such a problem.

    After I wrote this post yesterday, I headed into the kitchen to start supper. My daughter LOVES to help in the kitchen, so she helped me make the pizza dough, and then spent the next hour or so sitting at the kitchen island with me, pretending to bake with some kitchen dishes she had set up. My son was happily banging pots and pans on the floor beside me. It made me realize how little kids actually NEED. Isn't that what playing is all about, anyway? Role playing? So why do they need toys to do that, when they're just as happy to use the real stuff?

    I'm not going to get rid of everything, but I'm going to be more ruthless about purging in the future. I'm going to limit the toys that come into our home, and maybe have a one-in, one-out rule for toys so they don't get out of control.

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  4. Oh, and Green plan(t),

    Would you be so kind as to share some of those tutorials? :) I'm really interested! I have limited knitting and chrochet skills, and fairly decent sewing skills. I'd love to be able to put some love into the toys I give my kids, rather than hunks of plastic from Wal Mart. :)

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  5. Sure thing! I haven't tried any of them myself just yet, but here are some that I found pretty darn cute. :)

    Robot Softie
    Bird Mobile
    Wee Wonderful Bunny
    Felt Play Foot
    Ruby Doll
    Felt Board (this will probably be one of my first projects for my toddler and for an upcoming roadtrip!)
    Quiet Book (good for church)
    Crayon Roll (not a toy, persay, but holds one)

    Hope that helps!

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  6. Thanks Green Plan(t)! What a great list. I definitely want to do the felt board, and my husband LOVES the bird mobile. I think birthday and Christmas gifts for the kids will be of the handmade variety from now on. :)

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  7. I'm totally with you! I share many of the same goals in getting rid of my kids toys and replacing them with better alternatives. So far, we've just been selling/giving away toys that we prefer not to have, and slowly buying new ones (as I mentioned in my post).

    Thanks for your email, though! There are some great links and ideas here, and I would love to try some of them!

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