Rethink Your Toys

I have a lot of hesitation with telling you, all toys should be wood and not plastic OR no toys should include batteries. Some child development educators make this a black/white rule for their family… but you should know if you can’t afford wood, plastic is great. I prefer some plastic toys over their wood counterpart. If your flashlights and cash registers take batteries, that’s fabulous. If your pretend pets can walk, how cool. It’s about balance. It’s about finding toys that will be used in more than one way and that work for you and yours kids.

But also, there is a place for that ONE toy that only does that one thing too. When I was a kid, I would save up my precious pennies for a robot cat, dog and furbies. Can a robot cat be more than a robot cat? no. But, it brought me joy. If my parents were rigid in the rule “no batteries,“ I would’ve missed out on the joy these toys brought to me.

If your kids really want a remote control car, and it’s kinda only got one use… well that’s OK. The main purpose in having open-endedness with our toys is learning. So more toys than not should be able to serve multiple uses and engage them in different ways. But there is a place for the others too. BALANCE.

I also want to say, toys don’t have to be toys. Toys can come from the recycling pile, from a rock or a stick… from cleaning supplies and tools.

All this in mind, let’s do a toy inventory… and really discover what toys are ready to part ways with our families.

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Does this spark joy?! Anyone??

It doesn’t have to be that extreme, and you don’t have to thank the toy, unless you want to.

But get rid of the junk. The McDonalds toys have served their purpose and brought joy after a delicious happy meal . And now they need to go.

Toys that don’t belong to a set, that are broken… Toys that are duplicates of another toy you have that’s much better quality.

Show us a peek of your donate pile on your story #xoplaychallenge & tag @xolaurenpace!!!

Dress Up Mice Wooden Toy Box

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Today I’m highlighting a few brands that I have found to meet many of the criteria. All of the toys that Bella Luna Toys sells are safe and durable.

One of the toys that I’m giving away on Instagram is this cute Dress Up Mice Wooden Toy Box.

  • It’s safe and durable

  • Charlie finds it interesting because there are so many different outfits and gives the mice different roles each time he changes them

  • The toy isn’t as open-ended as toys like blocks, but the series of outfits helps it to be versatile

  • You can dress them with different hats, shorts, pants, jackets, etc.

  • It encourages thinking, communication and interaction by emerging the child in pretend play

  • I believe it’s a tool for learning because of it’s open-endedness… but the learning doesn’t happen because the toy is teaching, it’s because the child is manipulating it in a way to learn

  • It helps Charlie with fine motor skills, pretend play, and also the skill of getting dressed… because that’s a STRUGGLE


    You can buy this toy here.

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Another type of toy I want to talk about are “stuffed animals.“

Not all stuffed animals are made the same. Some kids have a collection of stuffed animals. And I want to talk to you about what I look for in a good stuffed animal… and how they can be used for many different types of place.  Stuffed animals are GREAT comfort items. Neither of my kids have attached to a stuffed animal, but when I was a teacher many children would have a stuffed animal that gave them consistency, comfort and a feeling over safety as they laid down for nap or left their parents to come to school. If a stuffed animal is serving your child in this way… it is something to celebrate, not condone. They are using this animal to be BRAVE with change and discomfort. This is a healthy way they are choosing to regulate. If they get older and are sucking on this animal or bringing it everywhere and you’re concerned about hygiene…. make a carrier or a bed. And have them place the animal in site, but not always in their arms.  Buy stuffed animals that can be machine washed!   If you have a collection of stuffed animals, you can use them in a toy rotation. Pull them out to be a zoo with blocks for a fence. Pull them out to be a pet shop, use cardboard boxes to make kennels. Use them with dramatic play.   Tomorrow we will talk more about storing toys and creating a toy rotation.  Xo,  Lauren

Not all stuffed animals are made the same. Some kids have a collection of stuffed animals. And I want to talk to you about what I look for in a good stuffed animal… and how they can be used for many different types of place.

  1. Stuffed animals are GREAT comfort items. Neither of my kids have attached to a stuffed animal, but when I was a teacher many children would have a stuffed animal that gave them consistency, comfort and a feeling over safety as they laid down for nap or left their parents to come to school. If a stuffed animal is serving your child in this way… it is something to celebrate, not condone. They are using this animal to be BRAVE with change and discomfort. This is a healthy way they are choosing to regulate. If they get older and are sucking on this animal or bringing it everywhere and you’re concerned about hygiene…. make a carrier or a bed. And have them place the animal in site, but not always in their arms.

  2. Buy stuffed animals that can be machine washed!

  3. If you have a collection of stuffed animals, you can use them in a toy rotation. Pull them out to be a zoo with blocks for a fence. Pull them out to be a pet shop, use cardboard boxes to make kennels. Use them with dramatic play.

Not all stuffed animals are made the same. Some kids have a collection of stuffed animals. And I want to talk to you about what I look for in a good stuffed animal… and how they can be used for many different types of place.  Stuffed animals are GREAT comfort items. Neither of my kids have attached to a stuffed animal, but when I was a teacher many children would have a stuffed animal that gave them consistency, comfort and a feeling over safety as they laid down for nap or left their parents to come to school. If a stuffed animal is serving your child in this way… it is something to celebrate, not condone. They are using this animal to be BRAVE with change and discomfort. This is a healthy way they are choosing to regulate. If they get older and are sucking on this animal or bringing it everywhere and you’re concerned about hygiene…. make a carrier or a bed. And have them place the animal in site, but not always in their arms.  Buy stuffed animals that can be machine washed!   If you have a collection of stuffed animals, you can use them in a toy rotation. Pull them out to be a zoo with blocks for a fence. Pull them out to be a pet shop, use cardboard boxes to make kennels. Use them with dramatic play.   Tomorrow we will talk more about storing toys and creating a toy rotation.  Xo,  Lauren

Tomorrow we will talk more about storing toys and creating a toy rotation.

Xo,

Lauren