Putting The Fun Back In Toys!
Who remembers their first trip to Hamleys? The home of ‘The Finest Toys in the world!’ The awe and wonder of it all. I made a brave decision just the other day to take my two for their first trip to Toy Narnia. I can say, it's a very different experience when your grown and old. I'll say, extremely overwhelming, exhausting and expensive! While watching my son go kid crazy in there and my daughter experience extreme overstimulation – I got to thinking a lot about the value of toys and the attachment we feel towards them.
Toys are the essence of childhood. They are what we think of when we think of children, play and even Christmas. Weather you grew up with just one toy, a whole room full or, imaginary toys – they form such a presiding part of our childhood, often evoking key memories.
With the increase in range, accessibility and affordability of toys, children today often have so many, maybe more than they will ever remember or appreciate. This is true of my kids - they have a lot of toys, which they quickly get bored with, and I find they would much rather play with my mobile phone, laptop, keys – and just about anything dangerous or of value. I’m sure in Dickensian days’ children (Seen, but not heard) used to play with the one simple toy or doll and were entertained and satisfied, for much longer than the average five minutes my children often are. This has kind of got to me because I want my children to enjoy what they have, use their imagination and get good use from everything they have.
Toy appreciation is on the agenda, so in my quest to get my children to fall back in love with each and every toy they have, I’m applying the following five tips to get us started.
5 Tips for toys
First Tidy – First things first, order needs to be established. Take an inventory of the toys you have. Throw away broken, unfixable toys and give away toys your child no longer plays with. Then arrange the ones left behind. It helps to have some kind of storage system, for your own sanity if nothing else.
Less is more – Try to have out just a few toys at a time. This will not only help your child to focus on the few items in front of them, but it will give them a growing appreciation of each toy. You can rotate the toys every few days to keep play time fresh and exciting. Having less toys out will also prevent over stimulation. Children can get over stimulated very quickly, which can make younger children very tired or make the older ones restless and ruthless! And of course having fewer items out at a time will mean less tidying up for you. Bonus!
Get Involved! Children need to discover and understand what the toy actually is and what it does. If you engage and try to play along, it really helps them understand and enjoy the toy more, and it’s a lot more exciting for them. Hence why they love our mobile phone, because we are always on them - so it must be exciting!
Drip Feed – Birthdays, Christmas and special occasions often means more and more toys. Once all the gifts have been open, it’s a good idea to then put some away and drip feed them to the kids over time. Again this gives them more appreciation for what they have and of course prevents that over stimulation situation.
Give Toys a little TLC – Some well-loved and used toys just need a little care and attention. For example, many soft toys can be washed in machine or by hand, just like our super soft bunnies Ollie and Daisy. Like fresh bed linen, clean and refreshed toys can be just what baby or child needs. Some toys can be easily wiped down or maybe just new batteries to bring them back to life again.
The above tips may just save you having to buy new toys for a little while longer. Let us know how you get on and please share some of your toy stories with us, we would love to hear from you.
Little Ellen's Mama xx