Minimalist Infant Toys

Minimalist infant toysIn today’s culture of mass, cheap consumerism, it’s sometimes a challenge to go against the grain. Whether it’s because of your budget or parental and personal perspective, there is a growing trend in minimal everything, including toys.

By providing objects that foster creative play you actually provide for your child an endless array of options. Some things, whether specifically a toy or not, offer the open-ended opportunity for your child’s imagination to flourish. Fewer toys may also provide opportunities for deeper, more focused play rather than short attention to a great variety of toys. For me there is endless joy of having less clutter around the house in general. Clean up becomes less of a challenge by the mere fact that it takes much less time.

Toys are also opportunities for learning beyond the toy. Fewer toys in the home offer more opportunity for a child to cherish and appreciate something. If it is easily replaceable a child might be more careless with it. Some developmental ages may care less about this than others. Some might think fewer toys mean a child will be stingier in sharing but I’ve found fewer toys mean more storylines, role-play, and relationship with peers. To help your kiddo find more enjoyment in what they have and not how much, below are a few things, but certainly not everything, that work for us.

Flaunt what you’ve got. The kitchen is a great spot for toys that aren’t really toys. Utensils, pots, pans, and more. Nature has craft supplies (sticks and leaves, anyone?) and a variety of time-burning and learning opportunities (what shapes can you find in the clouds?).

Multi-purpose what you can. As with safe household items, everyday kid’s items also offer play opportunity. For example some teething items are also toys, blankets can become tents, and so forth.

Crafts, crafts, crafts. I do not (necessarily) mean pre-packaged crafts where you just do as the instructions say. These have their place, but so do simple paper, drawing utensils, and random things. The possibilities are endless with everything from sparkles to special papers in the craft store to a nature walk’s leaves and pages from magazines, mailers, and old birthday cards. While some of the things mentioned are for older children, even older infants can enjoy a basic color and paper.

Books. You don’t need to amass your own library, though I have found my children like to go back to some books on our bookshelf over and over. You can also establish a book exchange with friends or invest in your local public library. The trip to the library in and of itself offers the opportunity to learn about being quiet, caring for other’s property, and other aspects of responsibility. Many libraries also have story time or other child-friendly activities that spark the heart and imagination of kiddos.

Keep it simple. Investing in too many can be a bad thing. It’s great to have blocks, trains, animals, kitchen/hardware/pretend play items that can serve more than one purpose If you have so many that they overwhelm the child then you defeat the purpose of minimal toys.

Don’t forget yourself. As in, your whistles, coos, goofy faces, and general interactions all can provide your child entertainment and growth, especially for toddlers and babies. Actively playing with your kiddo with a toy can bring it to life in a whole new way.

Lynette is a mom of three children from five months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

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