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My Kids Have Tons of Toys, So What?!

Photograph by Twenty20

You know how before you become a parent you have all these specific ideas of how you will raise your children? Well one of those ideas for me was that my kids would not have a ton of toys. They especially wouldn’t have those ugly, plastic, colorful toys because it simply didn’t fit my aesthetic. Plus you hear all these stories about how toys aren’t good for kids and less is more. So I figured we would just forego the whole toy thing.

And then the grandparents came around.

You know how grandparents can be.

They can get a little overzealous in their gift giving. One of the great joys of being a grandparent is being able to spoil your grandkids.

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In the beginning it would really irk me every time a new toy made its way into our home. I would get stressed out thinking about the noise and the clutter. I would have heart palpitations wondering if my kids would now be spoiled brats simply because they came home with something from the toy store. And then I realized, they actually play with their toys.

I sometimes wonder what they would do if they didn’t have their toys.

One of the chief complaints I hear from parents about their kids’ toys is that they just sit there. The toys are left sitting on the floor or the shelf unnoticed and unplayed with. That’s definitely frustrating. Any time my kids have come up to me complaining of boredom I look around wondering if I’m crazy. I point them to their toy box and remind them that they’re definitely not running low on entertainment. And you know what? They go and play with their toys. They have fun using their imaginations and getting lost in their world of play.

I sometimes wonder what they would do if they didn’t have their toys. I once read an article from a mom who said she got rid of all of her children’s toys. All of them! I was shocked. It worked for her family just fine, but I can’t imagine going that route with my kids. Sure we do regular toy purges, but getting rid of ALL of their toys? Not feasible.

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When I need a break from my kids to get some work done, I send them to play with their toys. When I’m cooking dinner and don’t want them messing around in the kitchen, I send them to play with their toys. When I want to watch a little TV in peace, I send them to play with their toys. And they go and play. They build Lego spaceships. They help Batman fight the Green Goblin. They set up a tea party for their dolls. They make a dinosaur land complete with boulders and plants.

The other complaint I hear from parents about toys is the clutter they cause. I get it. I like to have a clean home, too. I’ve been teaching my kids to clean up after themselves since they were very young. So to the clutter problem I say get a bunch of baskets and stash them in one or two rooms. My kids have most of their toys either in their room or the play room (which used to be a dining room, but who needs a dining room?!) When they’re done playing with their toys they put them away in the baskets and we’re done. The house looks clutter-free.

So while many parents are throwing toys out, I'm welcoming them into my home. If they keeps my kids busy and happy, they're totally worth it.

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