As my little boy’s 4th birthday approaches, I’ve found myself scouring toy catalogues with a sense of dissatisfaction.
Perhaps it’s because his favourite toy at the moment is a paper aeroplane and his favourite pass-time is cutting scrap paper into tiny shreds, that the thought of spending money on more ‘things’ just isn’t doing it for me?
We’ve already given away countless toys to other children and the Salvation Army but his toy box is still overflowing with toys his rarely plays with any more.
I love this article from ‘Becoming Minimalist’ that sums up how I’m feeling about the whole ‘toy thing,’ which is, really, kids are better off without them. Or, rather, without so many of them. The author lists the benefits of a toy free existence as…
1. Kids learn to be more creative
2. Kids develop longer attention spans
3. Kids establish better social skills
4. Kids learn to take greater care of things
5. Kids develop a greater love for reading, writing and art
6. Kids become more resourceful
7. Kids argue with each other less
8. Kids learn perseverance
9. Kids become less selfish
10. Kids experience more of nature
11. Kids learn to find satisfaction outside of the toy store
12. Kids live in a cleaner, tidier home
I know that Tyson is happier when we’re on a long walk along the river than he is playing with his train set. But does that mean I should deny him the thrill of tearing apart wrapping paper on his birthday day?
Perhaps the answer is purchasing gifts that help him engage with nature, like a set of binoculars or a bug catcher. Or I could wrap up some scrap paper and textas?
What are you buying your kids for their birthdays?