Wednesday, December 21, 2011

out with the old in preparation for the new

As much as I have tried to minimise the number of presents we give to the children at Christmas time and as much as Grandparents have tried to do the same, I am starkly aware that there will be a good number of new toys entering the children's little playspace in no time at all.

In preparation for the incoming excitement and in honour of the giving spirit, Saint Nicholas, on the 6th of December North and I went through the playroom and carefully placed a great number of our preloved toys into a bag to give away to charity. As I suspected, North was actually quite good about giving up his things- because no matter how hard we try to keep things minimal, he still has more toys than he knows what to do with. In the bag went an assortment of matchbox cars, trains, stuffed animals, games, puzzles and anything else which I didn't think would be suitable to save for Indigo.

We are now left with a beautifully clear space with only a few play things, many open-ended toys and a lot of room for imaginative and imitative play.
Inside the toy box are some wooden tools and a tool belt, a couple boardgames, wooden car tracks and some cars, his crane and some large wooden trucks. If he wants to play with these they can be easily removed, but generally cars, roads and construction aren't quite at his level of play yet. He often lines the vehicles up and then isn't quite sure where to go from there. The play he loves and spends most of his time doing is dressing up as animals, heroes and Santa (with his muslin cloths), building forts, houses and sleighs with chairs and blankets, playing shops, making tea for me and his dolls and building farms, houses and castles with his blocks.
I am sure I will have to pare the playspace down again in the New Year after I have observed him for a few weeks and am aware of what he is naturally drawn to and what he ignores. Then some of the toys will be packed away for a few months and others will be given away.
In my opinion it is better to have a few special and open-ended toys that they play with frequently than a whole lot of toys that are rarely played with and become nothing but clutter to the eye and the environment.

Are you preparing your child's space for the arrival of new things? How do you keep things, neat, inspiring, manageable and enticing for your little ones?


Anonymous said...

What an appealing space for your children. It is beautiful, organised and has such a calm look about it with all of the earthy items. I have been "purging" but the cupboards are still full! My spaces are looking a lot less cluttered though. I can't get rid of the mass produced plastic and noisy things quick enough - and a whole new lot has already started arriving for this Christmas. It doesn't seem to matter what my home looks like or how many times I drop hints or the fact I don't really buy plastic gifts....they just keep coming! I must admit that because I didn't have many toys as a child I find it hard sometimes to part with things but on the whole I do find it refreshing and just see it as my own challenge for personal growth and an example of unconditional giving to demonstrate to my children. So you have inspired me to pass on some if only I could sneak out the Barbies!....Seriously!

Angie said...

My little bitty is only 6 months old, but she already has a lot of stuff! I asked all of our family and friends to only buy her one gift for Christmas and birthday. Grandparents are "allowed" two mother likes to get one useful thing and one fun thing.

I am so incredibly jealous of your play space. It's amazing. I love the windows!

kristi said...

you have such a gorgeous play space and i completely agree with less is more. as the boys get older it is harder to fill the toy room as i already feel they have such an abundance of well thought out feels greedy adding more. i am proud to say it will be a light christmas. i do need to do a clean out they grow their interest change.

merry christmas over there. x

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