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What We Learned About ‘Toys’ While Raising 4

When our first kid was born we shopped enthusiastically and religiously for new toys like every new parent. We visited baby shops after baby shops to pick the right one for our newborn. We researched the benefits and the safety aspects. Learned a lot about the right way in choosing toys. For instance, kids toys should be painted with lead-free paint. For our second baby also toys were very much an important aspect of our parenting. Toys were used to wean a teething baby to distract them during a tantrum. On the go, one thing we realized was that our children’s engagement with other items in the house surpasses their play with those factory-made toys.

Many parents shared with me the same experience that their kids are more interested in other stuff than the stuff that was made solely for their interest/play. Why are those so expensive toys not making any significant impact after the initial few days?

a cute little kid playing with toys and a toy gun holding in his hand and wearing a brown t shirt.
the author himself getting spoiled ;)

The little thing we noticed while raising our four kids was that children are designed and programmed to help their parents rather than becoming a pain which needs to be distracted and engaged with a room full of toys. The purpose of toys is not to limit kids from engaging themselves in a world they are supposed to explore and enjoy.

After we realized our kids (like most kids out there) are more excited about the real world rather than commercialized play tools called toys we reduced buying toys (Books, pencils, coloring items etc. are not toys).


 

If we remove the last 100years from human history and look at the other hundred thousand years of human history, children played mostly with informal things or self-made things.


 

They hardly noticed the difference. If we remove the last 100years from human history and look at the other hundred thousand years of human history, children played mostly with informal things or self-made things. So it got nothing to be astonished about children being fine with not having too many toys around them. They play(work) with real things and they enjoy doing it because it got a purpose. Like adults, kids enjoy doing things with a purpose unless we train them in the opposite. This experience resulted in us training them in different skills which resulted in many wonderful and useful things.


The focus here is NOT to remove toys completely but as parents, but, we need to reconsider the position of toys in our life and kids’ life. The moment we start to consider toys as dispensable a new world of possibilities opens up.

The below two pictures will make the idea clear to you. These are some beautiful crib hanging toys like the one you buy to engage your little ones while they lie on a crib. See the second picture to understand why your kid was missing the fascination.


illustrations of some toy bus, car and truck in a balancing position.
Some beautiful crib hanging toys like the one you buy to engage your little ones while they lie on a crib

It’s always good to stand on the kid’s shoes and look. In this case, lie on the kid’s crib and look at the hanging toy to understand how kids feel.


lie on the kid’s crib and look at the hanging toy to understand how kids feel

 


(To know more about the history of toys, refer to historian Howard Chudacoff’s book Children at Play: An American History)

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