Posted by: purityseekers | October 18, 2007

Coming out of the fog into… LIFE WITHOUT TOYS!!!!

Ok.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am forever trying to simplify our life.  I don’t always succeed… but I sure do try!! haha  I admit that many ideas that I’ve had or gotten from other ladies, that seem like the absolute best thing, are just sometimes hard to adapt to because of years of bad habits!!!  BUT I really see, in my life, that although I may struggle to get to a certain point, either I finally get a grip and succeed, or I just keep on keepin’ on and doing all I can to eventually achieve my goal!!!

My recent revelation, which has been a topic on my blog before, is LIFE WITHOUT TOYS!  (my blog post would have been in with a post about minimalizing clutter)  We live in a society where you are just NOT cool unless you have the absolute newest and most awesome toy on the market! 

When I was a kid we had one box of Legos.  We were able to build a simple house and maybe a car or 2.  We never had lego people… we made big funny lookin’ people OUT of the Legos.  Until we were old enough to play with Legos we played with wooden blocks and stacked them and stuff.  Now there aren’t just regular Legos, there are different sizes of Legos to meet any kids needs and there are just tons of different Lego things that you could NEVER catch up and have them all!!  And the price…well… that’s another issue.

Nowadays you don’t have to just BUILD a Pooh…

 

You can buy your own Pooh SET of Legos…

Life just isn’t even CLOSE to simple anymore.  That has always bugged me!!!  BUT I have fallen into the trap numerous times.  We own Mega blocks, Duplo blocks, Legos, & wooden blocks.  But I have tried to at least keep the kids limited so that they don’t HAVE to have every new set that comes along!  They get them mainly for gifts here and there.  

During my search for those pictures I found a few funny things I just HAVE to post 😉

I loved this one…

 

and this one’s in French, but heck, if you don’t speak French, you can tell what it’s saying just by the picture…(or at least I THINK I know what it’s saying.  Reminded me of the bible story of that ONE lost sheep in the bunch…haha)

now… please tell me… how many LEGO PEOPLE can YOUR church seat??? LOL

OK…I’m getting sidetracked!! haha

 ***I started this at the beginning of October…and now it’s the 17th!

I decided to go around my house and take EVERY single toy out of the rooms and put them all in one room.  We have a spare room upstairs, so any time I found a toy I would open the door and just throw it in.  As the day went on, that room got very cluttered, but the rest of the house was very neat!!  I haven’t liked toys in the kids rooms for quite a while, but they had managed to work their way in there over time… SO… I also went in there and made THEM nice and neat and toy-free!!!

I told the kids that we were going to go "no toys" for a while except for a favorite for each child.  My 3 year old wanted "just my babies" and my 5 year old wanted some cars.  The baby is happy with following everyone around the house and doing what they are doing… and the older 2 were happy with drawing or playing outside. 

So… this is the sorta thing I started seeing a LOT…

Here’s my "Z" and "A" playing with the kitties on the porch glider…

"E" and "L" enjoying an apple at the table (after "L" had fun standing up all those markers and crayons)

My oldest was sick for the first few days of the "no toy" trial and so he found lots to do on the couch…

including loving up our cat, Benny…

and being more relaxed, I find I am having them help me more around the house… here’s "A" and "Z" helping me make one of my famous "Spinach Smoothies"…

Here it is BEFORE they blended it… how can this NOT be good for you????

Anyway… back to the "no toy" thing…

My kids end up spending a LOT more time doing paperwork and crafty things! 

Here is my 6 year old practicing her cursive by looking up at the chart in our Dining Room / Homeschool Room…

I think we all have "toys" ingrained in us like they are a MUST.  My Mom has said many a time… "when I was little I had ONE book and ONE doll." (or something like that… sorry if I misquoted you, Mom!!! hehe)  And I remember feeling bad for her being so neglected!! haha But here I am, taking my kids toys AWAY and loving every second of it!!!

Things have NOT been perfect since I started this post, but they have been pretty darn good!!!  The upstairs room is STILL messy and filled with random toys (we keep saying we are going to go up and organize, but that hasn’t happened yet!!  Out of sight, out of mind!!!)

Here’s just a little taste of what the area as you walk into the room looks like…

I’m laughing because you can see where the toys are cleared out so you can open the door!!!!

 

But… I would MUCH rather have a hidden room that looks like this and have the rest of the house look presentable at any moment!!

Here’s an example of one of the kids rooms.  Little guy "E" came in while I took this of the room he shares with 5 year old, "A".

One personal little thing I keep in MY head is this… if I am going to take away the majority of their toys…I NEED to be more creative and allow them some alternatives. 

Here is "A" having fun with some of my baking things and dried beans.  He could sit and do this for hours…but the rule is he HAS to stay at the table and then clean his mess up when he’s done!!

When he was finished… I had him wash all the things he used and you have NO idea how excited he was!!!

and instead of SAFE toy kitchen set stuff…I let my kids play with the REAL DEAL!!!  hehe Who says a 3 year old can’t play with knives??? haha 

But really.  My 3 year old "L" had to help me make a fruit salad as her Awana "Apple Tree Project" last week, and she had a GREAT time cutting up fruit!!! (and she still has all 9 fingers!! WAIT… isn’t she supposed to have 10??????)

And to see my 6 year old crocheting just melts my heart…

So… that is my take on "toys".  I could keep going, but I am sure you catch my drift!!  Ever since getting this revelation, I have enjoyed homeschooling SO much more!!  My stress level is so much better now that my house is that much easier to clean! 

We’ve also started certain chores that we are being so disciplined at keeping!  For instance, after each meal, my 6 year old dau. has to wash the table and chairs…

Here she is this AM after breakfast… 

and then she has to let her 10 year old brother know he needs to sweep the floor.  (I keep trying to remember to take a pic of him and keep forgetting!!) At the last meal of the day, we have our 5 year old son wash the floor.  He LOVES it and is so good at it!!

That has eased my "after meal" stress 100%!!!!  And they keep busy and feel important!

Life without toys.  AHHHH.  It is almost an unreachable goal, since we do allow the kids certain things here and there, but to keep them to the bare minimum and get them more focused on helping more around the house, reading more, etc… it’s priceless!!!

🙂 Bridget

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Responses

  1. I know allot of people might think your crazy with the whole no (or minimal) toy thing, but honestly, I think it's a great idea! I get so tired of picking up toys, throwing away broken toys, and dealing with the fighting over toys. I think when we move (in a month or so) I may just take all the toys and put them in the basement. They will be allowed one or two toys a week (or day…don't know yet) and that's it until I allow them to chose another toy- after replacing the previous toy. This is SO not a bad idea! Oh yes, and by the way- I am 'officially' a full time cloth diapering momma! Wa-ho for cloth! I'm so excited, can you tell? =)
    ~Sarah~
    http://www.mylifeafterlaundry.blogspot.com

  2. I was so encouraged reading this post this morning. My husband and I feel the same way. Our daughter is 12 months and we have begun to tell the family no toys. At home we let her play with real life "toys" no children toys. She does have a baby doll and for her first birthday she got a child's mop and broom. For Christmas we are planning to buy her something she can ride on when she is older but something we can push her on now. Things are a little different with the 3 step-children since we only have them part time. We are praying about how to handle the toy situation for them.
    Thank you for sharing your convictions!!!!!

    Emily
    http://emilyswhatsoeverthings.blogspot.com/

  3. Oh I have a room like that. I was tired of toys everywhere. Earlier this year I had DH put a lock on the playroom door because no one wanted to pick up after they played and the toys were leeking out to other parts of the house. My new rule was unless the play room gets cleaned up, it stays locked. You will clean it when I feel like unlocking it. This room has been locked for months and you know what? My children are not bored. They play out back, make paper dolls out of paper and crayons, make forts or clubs, their imaginations go on and on. Now I need to get past the hold on to everything part and clear out the play room. There are building blocks, legos, lincon logs, match box cars, baby toys, dolls, dress up clothes, swords,light sabors and you get the picture. With 6 kids you accumulate a lot of toys over the years. My issue now is what do we get them for their birthdays and Christmas that are fun but not toys?

  4. I love this idea. I have thought about this so many times but it's so hard to figure out how to actually do it. Thank you for all the pictures and tips. That was great. I'm going to send the link to my friends.
    I'm a homeschooling mama too.

    Did I mention I'm a knitter too?

    :o)

    Debra
    http://www.windingtheskein.blogspot.com
    http://www.isabelhope.blogspot.com

  5. oh you have a lovely home and a beautiful family!! I have been considering this too…I have a friend who has five kids and she allowed them one fav toy each and the whole world to play in and they are a good bunch…usually happy and well behaved! We live in a small apt right now I really adore it someday God will give us a house of our own and we will be good stewards of that home!!

  6. Hi, my name is Rina and Emily (http://emilyswhatsoeverthings.blogspot.com/) gave me the link to your post. We're also considering taking our toys to the bare minimum, and I was so excited to see that it not only worked for another family, but how beneficial it seems to have been! Thanks for inspiring me!


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