Toys are Over-Rated

A regular day at our house: 

The Hare spent the morning taking apart an old basketball, adding tinfoil and electric wires and experimenting with solar-power. Then did this:

The Owl found a seed and piece of wood and put them on the trampoline:

After they had been bounced to death, he picked up fist-fulls of grass and bounced himself silly: until that all came off. Then he did it again. And again. And again.

The Butterfly used the trailer as a see-saw:

So what toys do children need? Really.

(Should you find this article useful, Koha is accepted, $1 is fine. The button is under my blog-roll. :))

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About Karyn @ kloppenmum

kloppenmum is me, Karyn Van Der Zwet, mother of three and ex-teacher. I'm part of a revolution in parenting, with the aim to raise mature (not sophisticated) and self-assured children. I also know some stuff about adults. I have also had articles printed in The Journal for The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (Children and Young People) and the US parenting magazine, Pathways to Family Wellness, as well I regularly write for World Moms Blog (named as one of the Forbes 100 most useful blogs for women 2012 &2013). You can follow me on facebook (kloppenmum) pinterest (Karyn at Kloppenmum) and twitter (@kloppenmum). I'm also vaguely on LinkedIn (Karyn Van Der Zwet). Thanks to Joe (Mr Hare) for taking the photo. Cheers, son: xxxx.
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14 Responses to Toys are Over-Rated

  1. janekatch says:

    I love this post and the photos! It’s so much fun to watch how kids figure out what to do when no one tells them what to do–they learn so much more that they do from “educational” toys! I remember when my daughter, now 23, was the age of your Butterfly, she decided to spend a whole bath time exploring bubbles– making them with the soap, with her mouth, with her hands, and each time she would announce “bubbles!” No one had to plan a science lesson for her….and now she’s carried that very same excitement into her new job in health care policy.

    • kloppenmum says:

      Our Butterfly has just discovered he can climb on a chair and play with the bathroom tap – literally in the last few minutes. I can hear him now, having a ball and learning far more spontaneously than any ‘teaching’ I could provide. I’m so pleased there are people like you in early childhood education: understanding the incredible value of play.

  2. Definitely not plastic noisy ones from China! (Sorry China….)

    • kloppenmum says:

      Agree. I love it when our children create something out of nothing: much harder to do that when the toy is providing all the information, as in said plastic, noisy toys.

  3. I completely agree- that is why we moved out to the country!
    xx

  4. Laura Weldon says:

    Totally agree! When kids create their own fun they’re completely engaged as well as totally open to new possibilities. I read a history of play recently. I hadn’t realized until reading it how much toys co-opt play and learning.
    As an example, I watched my son try to talk a friend into building an outdoor ramp and track for their Matchbox cars. The friend scoffed, saying they couldn’t do it without all the (expensive) brand name components sold to put together a ramp and track for those cars. This other five year old mocked him for even trying to use leftover wood scraps. My son played at something more acceptable to his friend, then after the boy left he spent a very enjoyable afternoon making that track. A purchased track wouldn’t have taught him all the skills he gained in doing so nor would it have added a whit to his self-reliance. Sadly, his friend never saw how awesome that little track was.

    • kloppenmum says:

      That is a shame, and we have a similar experience. Our older boys (nine and almost six) have a very select group of friends. So many children came to play but couldn’t engage well. They were constantly looking for the ‘entertainment’. Children with electronics and lots of toys are on completely different planets to our kids. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Jo Jory says:

    Love this post, and completely agree! My kiddos (although a few of them are now getting older & growing out of that stage) have had more fun discovering and experimenting with what is kicking around outdoors in the summer than playing with actual toys.
    We once had all of our kids and a few of the neighbor kids play with the big cardboard box our dryer came in for hours outside, until it began to rain.

  6. What, no iPhone for the toddler?!? What kind of parent *are* you?! ;D

  7. lilzbear says:

    Come to think of it, we haven’t actually bought any toys for our little guy. Everything we have we got as gifts from others. I realize people LOVE giving you toys as gifts. I have used them all though….but as the weather gets nicer and the cub gets older, I want to really have him explore more…that’s what we always did as kids.

    • kloppenmum says:

      The three things we’ve spent any money on are bikes, lego (nothing with a scary face) and (slowly over 10 years) a wooden Thomas the Tank Engine set. Concentrating our money on a few decent things has worked really well for us. Less clutter, too.

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