Thursday, March 22, 2012

Toys; who what when where and why!

Betsy asked-
How do you rotate your toys? What is assigned when, what kinds of toys do you have, what about different toys for different ages, etc. 

Instead of just replying in the comments or by e-mail I thought these questions deserved a post of their own (she had another question that also deserves its own post!).

Rotating toys-  I started rotating the kids' toys when I realized that despite the large amount of toys in our home, the kids seemed to be bored with their toys.  It was all just too overwhelming.  What would tend to happend is that they would pull everything out, make a big mess, but not really focus on any one toy (or set of toys).  I realized that they needed their play to be more directed and their access to toys limited. This really can be done in so many ways.  I used to have a large rubbermaid bin for each day of the week.  Every day a new bin would be taken out and only that bin, all day.  Now I tend to have smaller sets out for shorter periods of time. The important thing here is helping your kids learn to be content with what they have and to help them use/enjoy what they already have.

What kind of toys- We tend to stick with the classics.  Toys that promote open ended play and imagination.  We want toys that encourage our kids to think and even explore.  Toys that allow children to just sit and watch it do its thing don't last long in our home (if they even make it in!).  Here are a few examples for you

Blocks- There are so many differrant types of building blocks-large/small, wooden/plastic, brightly colored/natural all of them encourage kids to use their imaginations and think.  

Playmobil- This is a classic and while they tend to be expensive I think they are worth the price.  They appeal to a wide range of ages (here they are played with by all of my kids ages 2-12, and my baby likes the ones geared to toddlers!) and interests.  Grandparents tend to enjoy adding to these sets. ;)

Fisher Price Little People- These are great classic sets (we only have the barn and house, but there are many other great ones too).  I love that my baby can play right next to my 4 year old (and even older kids sometimes) and they both have a great time!  They can enjoy some role playing and use their imaginations with these toys too!

Kitchen/baby dolls- My girls love these things and the appeal is obvious; they get to do what mommy does!  My boys have enjoyed these at times as well.  Adding some playdough in with the play dishes can add some extra fun and add a new dimention to the play.


Weapons- This one CAN be controversial, but I don't think it should be.  Our boys are young men.  It is ingrained in them to want to go out and conquer the world.  Practicing hunting, battles and protecting the girls are great ways for them to be playing now.  Our girls enjoy this play as well, and we encourage them in it.... Why?  Well the short answer is that it is a blessing to be able to protect and provide for your family no matter your gender. We also want them to be comfortable with the idea of guns.  We do teach gun safety and expect them to follow gun safety rules with their toys.  

Games- Kids love to play games.  We like to have games that teach our kids something.  Sometimes games serve the purpose of teaching our kids to follow rules, play well together, honesty, and good attitudes.  We have games that appeal to various ages and interests as well as games that most of the family can enjoy together.  Some favorites are Candyland, Sorry, Apples to Apples, SkipBo and chess.

We have so many more, but many are either outside toys or are used for school. Maybe I'll get to them in another post?

Different ages- Toys do need to be appropriate for the children playing with them, both for safety reasons and to encourage growth and development.  I have a small bin of toys for baby as well as "gear" for the baby (maybe its own post as well?).  Often toys can do double duty appealing to more than one age range; I find that toddlers and pre-schoolers often enjoy the same types of toys, their play just looks different.  As kids get older they start developing their own interests and hobbies.  We tend to encourage their "toys" to be tools to help them develop those skills while they continue to enjoy the many toys we already have available.  My oldest daughter loves to bake, so she uses my kitchen and enjoys having some of her own cook books.  My older boys like to build, hunt and explore their "toys" reflect those interests.  Some of the toys are appealing to a wide variety of ages such as legos, blocks, playmobil, really just depends on your child's interests.  Keep in mind that many toys that appeal to older kids may not be appropriate for the little ones because of small pieces, use good jugement here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this Gabe! Lots of great information for me to use!