Being a childminder and having my own 3 little ladies I have over time gathered up so many children’s toys. Every where you look around the house you will see toys and quite often there is more toys than floor. No matter what I had out for the children to play with, I would always end up with the same outcomes.
- The children would argue over who had what first
- They got bored easily
- My house would be a complete mess, as every single toy would be out.
I have carried on like this for a very long time and it was only recently when we decided to move house that I cleared out at least a skips worth of toys. I then packed away the few remaining toys that my girls were going to keep in boxes ready for our move to the new house.
As these things go, our house move was delayed by two weeks, so I was faced with the decision of leaving my children without any toys to play with or painstakingly re-open the packed boxes. After spending hours packing I was definitely not going to open the boxes back up so I choose the latter.
I dreaded what my kids were going to be like not having anything to play with and to add to it the weather was not great either. I was not working at this point so luckily it was just my children I needed to keep entertained.
After all my worries I was surprised that completely the opposite happened, I was amazed with what I observed.
The only thing my girls could access was a few dress up clothes. They all dressed up in different outfits and for hours they entertained themselves with no arguments. They played mums and dads, shopkeepers imagining up the money and things to buy, pets and owners then they carried out performances, in which they sang, danced and did some gymnastics moves.
They created a beautiful happy atmosphere full of laughter and adventure and best of all is the fact that THEY created it. It was not adult led or based around any resource I had set out for them. The bonus for me was my house was still as tidy as it was when they woke up. I just needed to get them to put the costumes back away once they took them off.
Even when I needed to go to the shop to get dinner the role play didn’t stop there they stayed dressed up and in character all the way.
As soon as we move house I will be ruthless with the remaining toys that are contained in the moving boxes as I have seen with my own eyes that ‘Less is more’ especially where children are concerned.
Having less toys allows their young minds to create and imagine what they want, if they can do that then the play possibilities are endless.
There was a study carried out in the US by Claire Lerner a licensed clinical social worker and childhood development specialist that was funded by the government. She concluded the following on children through her study, “They get overwhelmed and overstimulated and cannot concentrate on any one thing long enough to learn from it so they just shut down. Too many toys means they are not learning to play imaginatively either”.
Also in the 1990s there was research conducted buy two German researchers, Elke Schubert and Rainer Strick. They took toys away from Munich nursery for three whole months. They concluded that after a short period the children re-adjusted and their play became more social and creative.
Within a day of me removing the toys from my children I noticed how much more social and creative their play became. I would recommend having a toy clear out. In the long run it will benefit your children and your house will be tidier and less cluttered of toys.
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