As part of my quest for a Simpler Christmas, I'm talking about toys today. Lately my Facebook feed has been filled with deals on toys, toys, and more toys. It's actually quite overwhelming for a girl like me!
I'll begin by confessing that I can be a bit of a "toy snob." By nature, I don't do well with a lot of "stuff" because it overwhelms me and gets messy... fast! For my sanity, everything needs to have a place and be easily managed.
To limit the clutter, I try to keep the number of toys to a minimum and purge our play area several times a year. (While I have donated and sold a few, most of the purged baby and early toddler toys are saved and packed away for baby girl.)
Having fewer toys means less mess and less stress for both Kiddo and myself (fewer tripping incidents and power struggles about picking up toys). With less toys to play with, I have chosen to be very purposeful about what is in the playroom. They need to be enjoyed and used regularly. For this reason, the toys we request for his birthday and Christmas wish lists rarely require batteries.
I prefer battery-free toys for a few reasons:
- More opportunities for creative play.
- Less opportunity for sensory over-stimulation .When Kiddo plays with a lot of toys with all the bells and whistles.
- Not as annoying. (If I have to hear that Laugh & Learn Puppy sing "If You're Happy And You Know It" one more time...)
- Less expense. (The cost of batteries can really add up!)
- Kiddo plays with them longer.
Our Favorite Battery-Free Toys:
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- Blocks (He loves both wooden blocks and MegaBloks)
- Wooden Train Set
- Cars (We started with chunky cars like B. Wheee-ls and Tonka Chuck, but now he's really into Hot Wheels)
- Wooden Puzzles
- Play Kitchen with Dishes, Utensils, and Empty Food Containers
- Little People (At 3, he rarely uses the play sets, but he still likes to play with the figures on occasion)
- Lacing Cards
- Toy Tool Set and a small working tape measure.
- Stuffed Animals
- Blankets (I put play silks to this year's Christmas list, which I know he'll love.)
- Art Easel with Crayons (Crayola, of course!)
- Play Dough (He loves this no-cook Kool-Aid play dough too!)
- Pom-poms (Some of the best money I've spent at the Dollar Tree.)
I think my favorite thing about battery-free toys is how versatile they are. A blanket or play silk can become a cape, picnic blanket, or fort. Blocks can become buildings, fences for toy farm animals, or a garage for toy cars. And who needs play food? Kiddo loves to use empty spice containers to pretend that he's pouring and mixing things in his kitchen. Or he loves to use play dough or pom-poms to make something extra-special.
If I can encourage you to try one thing this Christmas, it would be to go battery-free with your small children. It's completely worth it!
What are your kids' favorite toys, or what were your favorites when you were a child? Did they require batteries? Tell me about it in the comments below!
This is a part of my series on A Simpler Christmas.