Have you ever told people to not buy gifts for your children? I know that sounds rude, but I have tried to be very diplomatic in explaining to family and friends that a) he has enough toys and b)we don’t want to buy him toys that he doesn’t understand the use for. It’s a task, let me tell you. People get offended or even worse, think that you are very high maintenance. Truth is, it is not true. Ask any parent with toddlers at home and they will tell you that it is a tough task to be selective about toys. I remember for Lishaan’s birthday, getting three boxes of the same toy. What would I do with the same toy? I upcycled two of them and gifted it to someone who would have better use for it.
This is why I am worried about the kids’ upcoming birthdays. We are going to be given chug along trains, walking dogs, plastic cooking sets and what not. Please don’t get me wrong, but I do appreciate the thoughtfulness. I do appreciate the fact that you are taking out time to pick up a toy for the child, but let it be something that’s of use to them. I say this out of exhaustion of clearing up their play pen and wondering where all this came from.
Added to this, my husband has a huge thing with plastic toys. While I argued about how ‘non expensive’ and colorful they were, he stuck to wooden toys that provided more scope for learning and also were more ‘close to nature’. Well, I do see the point. Wooden toys are natural, giving more scope to open-ended play and are better for motor skills. The shapes are far more refined and it is a different ball game than your 199-a-box plastics.
So, when I sat down to clear the children’s stuff as we get ready to shift another city in two weeks, I removed almost ALL their plastic toys. What remained and what will be added are some wooden blocks, stackers and the sorts. Lishaan’s approach to these definitely was different than his approach to other toys.
I was reading up about this a while back and found an article on the NewYorker. In the article, author Amy F. Ogata quotes from her new book, “Designing the Creative Child: Playthings and Places in Midcentury America,” that “Among the educated middle and upper-middle classes, wood became the material symbol of timelessness, authenticity and refinement in the modern educational toy.”
It is in this search for toys that allow open ended play, are all natural and are definitely timeless, which both my kids can use and share without damage, that I found Skola. Toys from Skola are designed for children to explore their motor skill. Working on lines of the Montessori methodology of learning, these toys allow for multi-sensory development. With the child’s growing age and curiosity, these toys also allow for freedom in exploring creativity and muscle memory. So, if you want to invest in a good toy for your child, you know where to look!
While you read this, please understand that while I love your intention to gift the children something for their birthday, I just say make it worthwhile. Hey, this applies to me too. So, if I have bought your son or daughter a toy that’s been more of a space eater than a partner in their exploration, I will make up for it this year 😉