Guest Post: Motherhood — Finding The Value In Toys
“The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a field in which seeds may be sown to grow under the heat of flaming imagination.” – Maria Montessori
One of the biggest challenges we face as parents is the accumulation of toys. Why? Because some toys are cute. Some play a lot of music or have pretty lights. Maybe some remind us of our childhood. Or, maybe your kids just beg for them once they see them at the store. But are these toys serving a purpose & adding value to our child’s daily life? Do we need so many toys?
Before we had Maximus, Greg and I knew we didn’t want to expose our child(ren) to a million toys. It was one of those things we talked about before we even knew we were expecting. We have always been pretty minimal and if you know me, I’m not a fan of clutter. After doing some research & reading (like obsessed) about child development, we found the kind of toys we wanted for Maximus & our future little ones. Now, we have baby Matthew who will be playing with the same wonderful toys we purchased for Maximus.
“...After a child is given an object to use, he not only continues to work with it, bit his efforts leave him mentally stronger & healthier than before.” – Maria Montessori
We are very particular about the kind of toys that enter our home. Over the past two years we have curated our playroom to have toys that are not only educational, but also spark imagination. Something about hearing Maximus pretend to cook, wash dishes, clean his little kitchen & create menus with what “we’re going to eat” makes my heart swell. We placed his kitchen near the real kitchen so he can “cook” while we cook. Other toys that have been great for his development & problem solving skills are puzzles & blocks. For his age, they are big & colorful which he loves.
When I was pregnant with Matthew, Maximus also played with his stuffed toys pretending they were babies. He would pretend shower them, change their diaper & even feed them. It is wonderful to see that nurturing side of him and I truly encourage parents to allow their children, especially boys, to expand into those nurturing feelings. I believe in the long run it creates more caring adults and loving fathers. Here is a wonderful post on the topic.
Children by nature cannot sit still. Trust me, probably like you, I have a very active 2 year old that talks & moves about a million miles per minute seems like. Because of this, we like to keep “play time” simple & without too much chaos. Although, we do love to run around & tickle fight. Every now & then, the chaos is welcome. We've taught Maximus at an early age that he has a designated “play area” (which he has the absolute OK to make all the mess he wants with his toys) & we established a one toy rule for the rest of the house. This immediately creates a pattern that he can follow anywhere he goes & he appreciates & values the toys he is playing with in that moment.
When we notice that he needs and wants something more hands on, our go to is coloring and as of recently, play-dough. Because sometimes I work from home, I sit him up in his chair next to me where he can do either. Now that play-dough has been introduced, his level of imagination & creativity has grown even more, just in the last few weeks. Also, Maximus LOVES music. He showed signs of his love for it the minute he learned how to hum a tune & dance to a beat. So, he has a little instrument set that sometimes we all use together. We’re pretty terrible singers, but Twinkle Twinkle has never sounded better in my opinion.
Finding the value in toys has been very rewarding to our little family. To me, a toy that can help a child learn and develop skills and talents that can follow them into their youth & possibly adulthood is amazing. Toys that will one day be used by all my children are indeed valuable & absolutely worth it.
To learn about Yadi's recommended toys and where you can purchase them, jump over to Part II of this blog post on Yadi's blog! If you'd like to tap into more of Yadi's insights on motherhood check out her blog Yadi's Journal or Instagram.