Friday, February 11, 2011

Encouraging Play

It seems that over the last few decades, the philosophy of "more" has evaded all parts of our culture - including our children's lives.

There are more toys to be had.  More electronics geared towards children.  More programs to enroll them in.

And while some of these things are wonderful and encourage all sorts of growth, I think some of it is certainly too much.

I have found that when my son and daughter's baskets and drawers are overflowing with toys and books, it almost seems they become paralyzed about what to play with.  It seems that the options are too many and a decision cannot be made.  And as we live in a smaller home without endless storage, we are not able to keep piles of toys around.

So, we have a system of keeping some of our favorite toys out and some of our favorite toys in bins in the attic.  And every few months, we switch which toys are available for play.  Keeping less available and keeping the toys on a rotation seems to encourage more satisfying play.

Alongside a rotation of the toys, we have become really big at purging toys we no longer need or play with often or that don't encourage creative play.
We have spent a lot of time talking with Lily about children who have less than she does and she is very willing to part with toys on a regular basis to give away.  We are thankful that we live in a city with a curbside pickup for those who are less fortunate and so it is very simple to donate items.  Not only does in encourage generosity and not becoming overly materialistic, we have also found that our children play much happier when less is at their disposal.

I love giving new gifts to my children and we are so thankful when people so generously give them gifts.  But, we have found that if we simplify what is at their fingertips, it makes for happier kids...and that makes for a happier mama!

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