I did a major toy purge in the rec room this weekend. It was just too much. At our old house I had adopted a no toy policy. We just didn’t have enough space. The new house, however, has a converted garage “wreck” room that is not technically part of the house. In which case, I didn’t care how many toys they had, as long as they didn’t bring them inside. This still presented problems because the kids just couldn’t manage it. And when it wasn’t clean, it wasn’t fun. I’ve also noticed that when its too much, it’s not fun either. Children need to be able to wrap their heads around what they have, before they can really exploit it. Less is more. I’ve also noticed that the children have come to a unanimous consensus revading the toys they can’t do without. In other words, you can take it all, just don’t TOUCH the Legos.
So far the boys are immensely more invested in the Legos than the girls. I don’t know what their hang up is, I loved Legos as a kid. We’re rolling in them over here. We manage them by keeping them segregated in their own room with no other toys. And they don’t leave. Because if they did, they would take over.
Even though the boys outgrew them years ago they still won’t part with them. Once in a while they still love to clear the floor and see if they can use every piece. If baby boy #3 ever arrives it’s going to be an all new dispensation. “Comeon Gideon and Jehu, play trains!”
3. Matchbox Cars
I still buy these for stocking stuffers, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. And they are still well received. The kids love to collect them and design tracks and obstacle courses for them.
4. Lincoln Logs
The Lincoln Logs don’t get much play, but when they are out everyone is invested and all of a sudden it’s Lincoln Log week.
5. Wood Blocks
When the kids get in a fort building mood the blocks come out. Then all the plastic animals and Matchbox cars are engaged. You can’t really have too many.
All of my girls seem considerably more interested in the Duplos than the Legos. We love them both.
Playmobil used to be The Thing around here. But it seems the boys have grown out of it and the little girls have yet to grow in. But we’re holding on.
For the girls you could just erase this entire list and graffiti the word “Barbies” across the screen, and you’d get the general idea. Only I’m a total killjoy of a parent and don’t let them have any. Instead we make do with a few Corolle and American Girl dolls, and their attendant clothes. I’ve done stints with various dollhouses but no one has seemed that interested. A few high quality dolls they can invest in emotionally seem to be all they need. Unless you give them Barbies, then Barbies are all they need. Ever.
I wondered when we started buying these toys, if they were something the kids would actually like, or if I was just buying them because they went with the decor. It turns out that they have stood the test of time and I would still be comfortable adding to the collection, even now that the Gideon is almost 12. In fact, he’ll probably still like them when he’s 18.
These fall in the same category as Matchbox cars. I can just keep buying them. A while back I went through our plastic animal collection and tossed all the ones that weren’t Schleich. There is no comparison, don’t bother.
When we first had kids we were the annoying parents who only wanted our children to have wooden toys. And while most of those toys have come and gone, I still fully embrace the theory behind our craziness. The more basic and adaptable the toy, the more creatively the children can play with it. Not to mention, the more timeless the toys are in the first place. Each Thomas the Train engine is an investment. Legos pass down for generations. Favorite dolls, like our Bertie Wooster, become a part of the family. Toys in these categories just do not get thrown away. Other toys are accumulated and held with an open hand, enjoyed for a season and then passed on. But these are the ones I will still have as a grandma, that my children’s children will enjoy as well.