We are coming back to plastic toys today. How many plastic toys do your children have vs. non-plastic toys? How many of those plastic toys are meant to entertain rather than inspire creative use? Take stock of your toys today and note what percentage are plastic, what percentage make noise, and what percentage are open ended and require the child to use their imagination to use it (percentages are all average, not exact).
Many plastic toys are both plastic pollution and noise pollution—obviously not noise pollution on a city level, but simply in our homes. Pay attention to whether all of those noisy toys are more irritating than inspiring. Our patience is constantly tested as moms and I know that too much background noise makes my patience run out much faster.
My goal for my kids is to not be entertained or distracted with their toys, but to be engaged in self directed, imaginative play. Wooden blocks require the child to take action and build. A lot of noise making toys don’t encourage open ended participation, in fact some of the “teaching” toys are more like constant quizzing. Are they like games for some children? Sure. Can they teach colors, numbers, and sounds. Absolutely. I just prefer to have a more balanced toy room that includes mostly open ended toys so that my kids don’t.
- Open-ended toys: pay attention to which toys ask your child to create the fun and be an active participant and which ones ask your child to only complete tasks, answer question, or use it in one way. You might find that many open ended toys often don’t use a lot of plastic
- Non-noisy toys: detox the noise level in your child’s day by turning off and limiting noise making toys. Reducing overstimulation can go a long way in helping everyone’s stress levels, which is a form of detoxing
- Ask yourself if your toys are serving your family or adding stress. Brainstorm about what you can do to make a shift if you feel toys have become overwhelming or more stressful than fun
- Research sustainable toymakers – there are many companies out there who focus on recycling, eco-friendliness, & make material choice a priority
- Commit to buying handmade toys from toy makers, artists, and crafters. Some of our most cherished toys are heirloom quality because they are skillfully crafted out of wood
- Reduce your spending and your impact on the planet (while saving money!) by going to children’s clothing exchanges in your community for toys and clothing
- Commit to finding a balance when it comes to the number of toys you keep and what types of toys you choose for your children
- Or come up with your own!