I have four children. My oldest is now 9-years-old and my baby is 3 *ugly cry face*. I don't have a lot of regrets of my parenting years so far but the minimalist in me knows that if I could do it again there is one thing I would have done differently.
BUY LESS TOYS
So I bring to you today, A Minimalist Guide to Toy Buying
These are all the toys we own on purpose. We do have other random toys given to us by well meaning people, but they never make it long in our house. It's not that we aren't grateful. It's just that the best toys are the ones that allow kids to explore the endless pathways of their imaginations. These are the toys that last year after year in our home.
I'm not an incredibly frugal person, but as I get older I am more conscious of the waste we create when we buy things we keep only a short while. Baby toys for three babies? Total waste. Babies don't care what they chew on. And the latest greatest toy isn't going to make them smarter. Think of Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and all those other people that actually discovered all those smart things. They didn't have fat brain toys from Target. You know what they had? Andirons. Probably. I don't really know.
This monkey toy is now decaying in a landfill somewhere. He barely even played with it.
More often than not, my kids wanted to play with every day things mommy used around the house. Like my oldest pictured here in our laundry basket. Baby toys are useless. Except for bouncers. Love bouncers. Mamma has to put the baby down sometimes, y'all.
After I had my third child I went to a home of a family with 6 kids and the mom told me something amazing. Kids love DUPLO blocks! They love them, she said. Her oldest to her youngest. They would play with them for hours. She had just bins and bins of them and our kids all played with them for the entirety of the play date.
I started collecting our own stash and I can honestly say that has been the number one toy in our house ever since. When I was trying to take the photo at the top of this post, my 9-year-old was in the middle of building a huge space ship or something and kept snatching blocks out of the bucket between clicks.
They've played with them on four different continents.
The fun never ends. Seriously.
All my other toy recommendations pale in comparison to duplo blocks, but they are all still things my kids use frequently in their play. Matchbox cars? Timeless. Do you realize how many ways you can incorporate matchbox cars into creative play? Trains and tracks? Endless fun. I actually wish we had more. The thing that threw me off at first was the whole train table thing. We had tracks and they fit on that table and you had to put it all together a specific way to make them fit on that table. So, of course that was a job for mommy dearest and dear old dad.
No thanks. Then one day we went to a friend's house and her kids were playing with their tracks on the floor. What madness is this, I asked. Train tracks NOT on a table? BRILLIANT.
My kids will build train tracks all day long. Often under duplo creations and around duplo car garages where the matchbox cars are parked.
That baby just wanted to play with her brothers. She didn't need a flashing ball with easy grip bars and teether rings.
Granted you have to be careful, I know, I know. And y'all know that too. Matchbox cars probably aren't best for the baby babies or the trains with the little wheels. Don't let your kid choke on these things. Give them a clean sock to play with until they're old enough for these things. Or andirons, like baby Ben. Probably. I really don't know.