Toys often lay the foundation of a child’s thought process, his emotional development.
Yes, while to us, the adults, they look like mere playthings, but to our children, they are the building blocks of their imagination.
Toys are a child’s world, through which they learn about themselves and the world around. While playing with dolls, your child could be learning about taking care, developing compassion, empathy, sympathy and a lot more! Hence, a lot can be learnt from the kind of toys we give to our children.
However, in an age of information overload and the desire to give everything to our child, we often feel compelled to buy every random toy that is on the display!
Not to offend the parents, but we usually fulfill our own guilt or our definition of being the “perfect parent” to our children, by spending money through toys and other material things. It is our need based action rather than their requirement. Spending time is usually substituted with spending money over toys and other accessories for children. It gives the parents the feeling of having done a lot for their kids!
Sad, but true!
In truth, too many toys actually kill the thrill! Children are content with fewer toys. In fact, fewer toys benefit children in several ways. Let me tell you, the already horrified parent( post reading this), as to how!
- Kids learn creativity: – Too many toys kill the imagination of a child. Too many toys often end up providing structure to a game plan, thereby not allowing the child to use his imagination. Lesser toys would teach a child to use his imagination, to come up with more ideas and game plans with a single toy. Even boredom with lack of toys can fuel that imagination in them. Plus, the child learns to soothe and keep himself entertained in any situation, especially when there is nothing to play with. In fact, with open ended toys like cardboard boxes or stones and pebbles, the children learn to play creatively.
- Kids turn more attentive: – Too many toys often make a child restless. The desire to play with everything is so strong that it doesn’t allow the child to completely focus on any one toy and therefore a child keeps shuffling from one toy to another. This hampers their attention span. Fewer toys will make them cherish and appreciate what they have, therefore fully channelizing their energies, attention and focus on one!
- Children learn to take care of their toys: – Cleaning up is easy as a parent! Jokes apart, lesser toys would make the child stay concerned and take care of them well. They will not learn to value and appreciate toys, if they have too many. The reason is because they know a replacement toy can be obtained with a slight whine or a tantrum! In fact, when I take away a bunch of toys, my son ends up being a little more careful and learns well.
- Improved social skills: – Now this one is my favorite. Certain toys, which I know are my son’s favorite, are usually at some of his friends’ place. I have consciously not bought them, because every time he wants to play with them, I cajole him to be nice to that particular friend, so as to be able to play with their toys. This works and my son enjoys having a nice time with both, his friends and their toys! In short, interpersonal skills, by way of mastering the art of “give and take” is learnt through minimal toys.
- Kids learn a lot of other creative skills: – Lack of toys usually makes the kids focus on other artistic areas like reading books, dancing, singing, playing, coloring etc. to keep themselves entertained. Like I said, the art of soothing self is learnt through minimalism.
- Kids love the beauty of nature:- When toys are a few, playing outdoors, dancing in the rain, or building sand castles or flying a kite might be more thrilling than anything else. Playing outdoors sometimes makes children even more attentive to the beauty of nature and the immediate surroundings. The outside world looks appealing enough for every kind of play!
- Become more resourceful:-Instead of giving answers to their boredom, through toys, let the children find their own solutions for entertainment. The lack of toys will make them work at finding tools to keep themselves entertained. Fewer toys will force them to become resourceful and utilize regular routine things to play.
- The art of perseverance: – Kids who have too many toys eventually appreciate and value toys less. In process, they also lose out on the art of developing patience and perseverance. For instance, if there is a complex toy, then a child having plenty will quickly leave it for another easier one. However, if someone has the same toy, but nothing else, he/she will learn to focus on the complicated one, unravel the complexity and gradually play with it! This even will teach the children to stay determined and focused in play.
- Kids are less selfish: – Children, who often are pampered with toys and material things know how to take their parents or other caregivers for a ride. They know they will get anything and everything at the mere drop of a hat! This kind of attitude is what makes the children selfish and they often turn to their parents for material things, more than affection!
- Kids stay satisfied: – No matter how many toys you buy, your child will soon tire out and grow bored. However, kids who have fewer toys stay happy and satisfied. They learn that true joy and contentment goes beyond material things like toys!
Now this blog might force many parents to think of me as an anti-toy person, but trust me, I’m just a pro-child person! Limiting the number of toys around your child might do him a lot better than you can imagine! Rather focus on giving some open ended toys like lego blocks, wooden blocks, some rag dolls, some household dishes and bowls etc. to help your child create the plots for a variety of play.
Do lookout for my next blog, which will talk about fun things, all DIY that you can do to instill the art of creativity and imagination in your child, sans toys!