10 Reasons Why Having LESS Toys Is Good For Your Children?

Lately, the two littlest in our household started to lead a lifestyle of a hoarder. They not only receive a lot of gifts (a lot of times without any specific reason or special occasion) but they also collect junklike stuff they want to keep and play with. Like colourful empty bottles, tissue paper, ribbons, etc. My eldest even steals things from the nursery, I keep finding random little objects in his pockets when we get home. We still have the top of his wardrobe full of unopened presents from his birthday. Untouched Kinder surprise eggs hiding in the kitchen which he keeps getting from the grandparents by the box of 5 (!!!). It takes a lot of effort from us to make our lovely folks to understand that they simply have to stop buying too much stuff for the children. We look like really mean parents! But, they don’t need (and they are definitely not going to get) a surprise egg every day. We are running out of space to store toys they are not playing with. Lots of them break or stop working within a few weeks or months and end up in landfill. So I decided to declutter. And declutter regularly.

These are my reasons, but if this isn’t enough reason to declutter and cut down on impulse buys, here’s some more:

1. Encouraging innovative thinking

They simply have to invent plays and games to entertain themselves. For children, this supposed to be a natural way of discovering the world and part of their development. Like using empty food cartons and boxes to create a shop instead of buying a miniature plastic toy shop set. (With 120 pieces.) Or make some. Just use a real jute bag when they go pretend play shopping. Use carton boxes and build a car. They will soon start to change their way of thinking and play with what’s available.

2. Learning to ask for permission 

Naturally, some things are forbidden and they are not toys. Some things they should never touch. They will learn sooner what objects in the household are not allowed to play with and what are they used for.

4. Becoming more creative 

Going hand in hand with innovative thinking, it enables children to make use of things. Use that tissue paper collection to cover the racing car made of an empty cardboard box. Cut out numbers of paper. The car also needs wheels, lamps, a car key maybe?

5. Playing independently 

They engage better with the fewer toys they have. The experience is talking over here. Not long ago, my firstborn always wanted to play with the IPad. (We use IPad strategically, and he gets a half an hour here and there, 2-3x a week.) He was BORED. Wondering around, trying to figure it out what to play with, picked some toy up, played with that for a minute or two, then wandering around again aimlessly. So we put two-third of the toys away. All of a sudden the remaining toys became interesting. Why? Because:

6. Too much stuff causes stress 

Not just in children, it effects everyone. I personally feel very anxious when the mess is bigger what I than I can tolerate and things are not at their normal place or not being put away. So, when my little boy becomes anxious he starts to run around, from wall to wall in the hall, sometimes for 10-15 minutes till he gets very tired. This is how he copes with overstimulation and anxiety. Nowadays, this happens a lot less since we’re doing conscious efforts to declutter regularly, he’s a calmer and more cooperative too.

7. Less toys teaches the idea of sharing and taking turns

Sharing is an important milestone in social communication and the one which parents find quite frustrating whilst learning is still in progress. At every play date, every time at the soft play or on the play ground all you can hear is “Share, sweetheart, share please!” Teaching  taking turns and sharing becomes easier when they have less toys. Also, they will be less selfish. A child, who gets everything on a silver plate believes it’s just natural and soon starts to have demands, often not reasonable ones.

8. Encourage imaginative play

For parents like me, this is an important issue. My eldest has never been great at imaginative play, he still needs lots of help to get started. Imaginative play is a key milestone in a child’s development. With all the talking, music making, interactive toys there’s little room left for the imagination to fly. If they have difficulties to get to use their imagination, like my boy, we have found it’s a good idea to play stories from their favourite books. Creating our very own mini theatre.

9. Consume less and consciously 

Buying less and carefully select a few toys only means buying less rubbish which will be thrown away in no time. It saves money, tears, and teaches them to choose wisely. It’s a greener approach. It teaches them patience and that it’s worth waiting for something. I remember how long I waited for my first Barbie doll, how much I wanted to have one and how long I cherished and looked after the first one I got. I want my children to have a sweet memory like that.

10. Less tidying up

Bonus. How much time do you spend with tidying up? How about adding to that all the time you spend arguing and negotiating with your children about it? Yep. Thought so. This can be also saved by downsizing the toy arsenal. The children would be more willing to tidy up as the result is within an easier reach.

Maybe some more can be added to the list, did I miss something? Please leave a comment.

One Messy Mama
The Pramshed
Burnished Chaos

31 Comments

  1. We really need to practice this…..our playroom is bursting at the seams! We do have a big box upstairs and swop toys out on rotation so they don’t get bored of them #HumpDayLinky

    • Yes, we swap the toys around too – but seems like our place is a huge toy storage. #humpdaylinky

  2. I really enjoyed reading this, there’s a lot of good tips there. We’re on a similar journey of decluttering and I do think it makes life so much easier when you’re not surrounded by so much “stuff”.

    • Thank you. All the useless stuff just ends up in a charity shop anyway – or in our case in the bin, as my children literally ruin all their toys.

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more. I find my children are happiest when there is nothing for them to play with, like on a dog walk or at the beach. They get along best when they are using their imagination!

    • Yes, I could have added another reason, which is going outside. Mines prefer to be outside whenever it’s possible.

  4. It’s a little bit of a double edged sword when people give your little ones gifts, isn’t it? You want to be grateful, but at the same time, do they really need that much stuff?
    Grandmas are the worst culprits in our home.

    It’s great that you are trying to encourage creativity and imagination in your kids!
    Thanks for sharing! #globalblogging
    Lexie recently posted…9 Things That I’ve Learned in 9 Months of MotherhoodMy Profile

  5. So true! I also have to declutter regularly. I often cart of broken and old toys while the kids aren’t around…the surprise? They never notice! I think once my oldest noticed that an old broken crocodile was missing. Thanks for the reminders of why it’s important! Pinned your post 🙂

  6. This is so true. We just spent two weeks on the road and barely touched a toy. The kids did great and soent so much time in nature using their imaginations. Thanks for linking up to #globalblogging!

  7. We do declutter and still they have lots of toys-I tend to rotate them every few months, keeping some stored under their beds while the others are out. My two have always had lots of toys, but I don’t find that has a detrimental effect on any part of their learning, playing or lives in general.

    #StayClassyMama

  8. We have exactly the same problem here. Everyone just ignores our requests for less toys! I agree with all your reasons but in particularly love the idea of less toys less time spent tidying. Thank you for sharing with #StayClassyMama

  9. This is to true. We don’t buy our girls toys in-between birthdays and Christmas and for a bit I felt like we were being mean parents, as I see others do it a lot. But my girls have a playroom with enough toys to encourage play and they are happy x

  10. Yes! I decluttered my little ones toys a few months back because I noticed he wouldn’t play with *any* of them! And it worked! He started going in the toybox again and got what he wanted out. – I think it’s time to do a shuffle around again now. Too much of a good thing can be bad 😉 We definitely don’t need anymore toys yet! #Sharingthebloglove

  11. I totally agree with this. My children have SO many toys, even more so since I started my blog and there’s a new one each week, but I think having less is always better. I have no started to rotate the toys in the toy basket so to not over whelm them and they do play better with the ones they have! Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
    five little doves recently posted…Despicable Me: Radio control inflatable FluffyMy Profile

  12. All so true. Most of her toys and clothes are 2nd hand because we move regularly and have 2 suitcases each. She’s fine and we have playdates at other peoples, so she gets to play with lots of things. #SharingtheBlogLove

  13. Could not agree more but, like you, it’s the grand parents we have to do battle with. Apparently my brother and I had “a house full of stuff”, although we don’t remember it, and Freya will “get bored” if she doesn’t continually have different things. I’ve had to have a conversation with them more than once about bringing stuff (usually plastic rubbish). Great post. #sharingthebloglove

  14. I really do agree. I’ve just done a massive clear out of the kids’ stuff and they have so much junk! I agree having less makes kids think a bit harder, be more creative and more innovative! Good for you lovely! #sharingthebloglove

  15. Completely agree with everything that you just wrote. I was nodding all the way through it. I am within early years myself and often have disagreements with Ofsted about this because they want every toy to be accessible to the children have a choice. It’s always good to have a choice don’t get me wrong but there’s such thing as ‘too much choice’. #sharingthebloglove

  16. I totally agree with you that it encourages them to be more creative if they have less toys and it can encourage them to see toys that they’d just overlooked when there were so many previously. I’d never thought about the landfill side of it though – so that’s another great bonus! #sharingthebloglove
    Lucy At Home recently posted…Blogcrush Week 23 – 21st July 2017My Profile

  17. I completely agree with this, and we have so much stuff in our house, and the little one wants to keep really random things too. I try to rotate toys so only getting a few out at a time, that way she often forgets what she had, and then gets excited about them. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x
    The Pramshed recently posted…Just a bloggerMy Profile

  18. This is so true. We had to really put our foot down with our parents because they would buy them something new every time they came round, which was every week! They seemed pretty hurt but then I started having a clear out and decided to take a lot of it round to their house. They soon cottoned on to it being a pain having too many toys! We still have far too many now and they’ve taken over the house. My daughter only has tiny room so all her toys are in the living and dining room and it’s got seriously out of hand. And despite having so many, they’re ALWAYS bored. A massive decluttering is definitely in order before Christmas!
    Thank you for joining #FamilyFunLinky x

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